Friday, August 31, 2007

Creative Competitions - 2007 and 2008

I have been involved in competitions and festivals both personally and professionally since I was a young student. The journey that lead to the final moment of the competition was always the part that had the biggest impact on me....the part of the process that I always remembered....even years later. This I found to be true of my students as well. Whether it was sports or digital competitions the journey for my students was always the huge "learning moment."

Below are a couple of competitions to look at competing in. There are many available for students of all ages.......just get involved you won't regret it :)


Competition 1 - SIGGRAPH

The SpaceTime
competition is an international juried exhibition for students currently enrolled in school who are working in computer graphics and digital arts. The exhibition captures the state of creative computer-based student work and acts as an annual slice of the computer graphics continuum. Primary, secondary, and college or university students are encouraged to apply and the submissions will be handled separately.

Space Time flyer [pdf]

The exhibition will encompass three general areas:

  • print
  • linear animation
  • interactive works
Submission Deadline: May 15th,2008


Competition 2 - The 10th Annual Independent Games Festival

Student Showcase finalists receive:
$500 allowance per team for travel expensesOne Giga Pass or Two Classic Passes to the 2007 GDCMention in Game Developer magazineMention on Gamasutra.comA one-year limited use license to use a version of the official Independent Games Festival name and IGF Student Showcase finalist logo in promotional materials relating to their Game Entry.

IGF Student Showcase Winner ($500)
Best Student Game ($2,500)

Competition Winners receive:

Cash prizeAward PlaqueA one-year limited use license to use a version of the official Independent Games Festival name and IGF Winner logo in promotional materials relating to their game entry.

Submission Deadline: October 15th, 2007

Competition 3 - Vicon Film Festival

"A celebration of of all things motion capture and animation"

The Vicon Film Festival is an international competition to find the most creative and entertaining use of a series of captured movements in a short animated movie...which will earn one filmmaker the grand prize of $10,000.

Submission Deadline:
31st January 2008
Public Voting Will Begin: March 1, 2008
Winners Announced: June, 2008


Competition 4 - Marksman Design Awards 2007 - 2008

Design the Perfect Pen!

A new Marksman Design Award will start in September 2007. The challenge of the Marksman Design Award 2007-2008 is to ‘design the perfect pen’. Students around the world will be challenged to give the pen a new lease of life.

Competition Dates:
1 September 2007 - opening of online registration by students
31 January 2008 - closure of registration by students
7 March 2008 - deadline for submission of designs
March 2008 - judging of entries by expert international jury
May 2008 - announcement of winners

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Pinwheels for Peace: September 21, 2007 - A great project for individuals, classroom or whole school/community!

"In today’s world, peace needs to become more than just a word."

Pinwheels for Peace is an incredible program that was started by two art teachers Ann Ayers (also an Adobe Education Leader) and Ellen McMillan that teach at Monarch High School in Coconut Creek, Florida. It was started as an art installation project in 2005 as a "way for students to express their feelings about what's going on in the world and in their lives."

(©2007 Ayers and McMillan)

Pinwheels are childhood symbols that students create in all sizes and shapes. As part of the creation process students are encouraged to write their thoughts about "war and peace/ living in harmony with others" on one side of the pinwheel, then visually design their feelings on the other side of the pinwheel.

View the photogallery of the last two years.

Once all the pinwheels are designed they are "planted" together outside on International Day of Peace, September 21, 2007.

In 2005 (the first Pinwheels for Peace) it was estimated that there were 500,000 pinwheels over 1,350 locations worldwide. 2006 approximately 1 million in 2,500 + locations. It would be great to beat that record for 2007!

Check out the locations around the world that have committed so far in participating for 2007.....your class/school could be one of them!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Free Anti-Plagiarism Tool for K-12 & Higher Education - DOC Cop

Today more than ever, plagiarism is very difficult to detect. With web search tools becoming more sophisticated, users becoming more skilled and the huge amount of data that is now on the would say it is easier to cheat than be caught!

DOC Cop is a free online tool that was developed by Mark McCrohon to help K-12 & Higher Education detect plagiarized work submitted by students.

Mark has been involved in development of various educational solutions. He was part of a team that won the "Faculty Teaching Innovation Award" for Marlina LS that is a "server-based application for the delivery of interactive learning materials".

"DOC Cop is lightning fast, capable of processing one million words or a thousand thousand-word documents within 20 minutes."

"DOC Cop gathers the evidence, and provides the information required for you to judge whether or not plagiarism has occurred."

The service provides 3 types of checks:

  • DOC Check, which evaluates individual documents--up to five at a time, 250,000 word maximum each--against one another;
  • Corpus Check, which evaluates an unlimited number of documents (up to 12,000 words each) against one another; and
  • Web Check, which compares strings of text (up to 550 words) against results found on the Web.
    (Campus Technology 8/23/07)

A valid email address is all that is required to register. DOC Cop only stores work submitted on their system for the length of time it takes to perform the plagiarism check.


Any program that has students submitting essays of work needs to give this a try. I would also use this chance to talk to students about plagiarism and explain what it is. You would be surprised how many students do not see it as plagiarism if it is available on the Internet.

I think schools need to sit down and come up with a common research model that defines what plagiarism, copyright, referencing, etc.... is for their school. Schools should research what various local higher-ed institutes are doing and take that into consideration as a part of your research model.

Further Links on Plagiarism:

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Morphing one image to another easily with "Online Face MorphThing"

MorphThing "morphs faces: give it two people and it'll combine them, to create a new person with the facial features of both."

Without registration you can have a play morphing the celebrity photos supplied on the website. Registration is free and this allows you to upload and morph your own photos.

You can even include a "morph me" button on your website/blog that allows your readers`

Be sure to read the "Good Image Guide" to ensure the best Morph Experience!

Have fun!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Simple Storytelling Technologies - Shadow Puppets with Raymond Crowe

Sometimes the simplest technologies have the biggest impact. It doesn't get much simpler than an overhead projector with a cardboard matte frame and a little imagination!

Below is a video that one of my colleagues sent me (thanks Barbara). The performer is Australian Raymond Crowe who performed this at the 7th Annual Helpmann Awards in August (Australian award show for live performance).

Please give it a moment to download and turn up your speakers!

Classroom Ideas:
Students can use this technique for storytelling.
Have your students plan their story. Storyboards can easily be produced using PowerPoint.

How (for Windows):
  1. Open PPT
  2. Use 1 PPT slide for a large storyboard templates or 3 PPT slides for smaller storyboard templates.
  3. In PPT choose File --> Send to --> Microsoft Word.
  4. I usually choose "Blank lines next to slides"
  5. Word will automatically create the storyboard template and it can be saved or printed.
How (for Mac):
  1. Open PPT
  2. Use 1 blank PPT slide for a large storyboard templates or 3 blank PPT slides for smaller storyboard templates.
  3. In PPT choose File --> Print
  4. In the Print properties box choose "Print What" --> "Handouts (3 slides per page)"
  5. You can select how many storyboard boxes (slides) you want per page.
  6. Then choose to print to .pdf (to save the template) or print straight to your printer.
The students could use 2 different pathways to produce their story.
  1. Work through it using their hands/light or cutouts/light. This can be video taped, edited with Premiere Elements or Premiere Pro, adding audio with programs like Soundbooth or Audition afterwards.....then published into a video podcast.
  2. Create the silhouette characters and animated them in Flash CS3. Easy to add a soundtrack (music or script) with Soundbooth or Audition afterwards. This too can be published as a video podcast or as other video formats.
Students could use this short video as an introduction to a digital portfolio or as a part of a project presentation....have fun with this and let your imagination go :)

Links for the classroom:

Sunday, August 26, 2007

iPhone bidding war is over... 17 year old George Hotz is now off to College

Well it seems that the Worlds 2nd Unlocked iPhone (view initial postings below from Saturday) has found a new home.....but not through a bidder via eBay. According to Geohot's blog there were a lot of bids that were posted for the iphone that were fraudulent and he was forced to end his action early before selling it.

A summer adventure that started because his mom wouldn't switch mobile phone carriers....this young man decided he would unlock the iPhone so he could have one. Over 500 hours later and television interviews the Worlds 2nd Unlocked iPhone now has a new home. The founder of Certicell contacted Geohot this morning and made an offer. Geohot received a Nissan 350Z and 3 - 8GB iPhones in exchange for his unlocked iPhone. On his blog he seemed pretty happy about this exchange (what 17 year old wouldn't be) and off he goes to college tomorrow.

Wonder what his major will be at college? In his interview he mentioned he was starting Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). Do you think any of the profs at RIT are checking their class lists to see if this first year student is in any of their classes?

See interview with CNN (above) and this young student - George Hotz. Listening to the interview this young man is at ease in front of the camera and handled his interview better than most adults.

It will be interesting to see how AT&T and Apple handle this. There has still been no comment from either company.

Whether you are teaching Ethics, Technology, Law or Business Studies....what a great story to bring into your classroom for discussion!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

iPhone bidding war....11 hour update....

I had to check to see where this young entrepreneur was at with his bidding.....less than 12 hours later he has gone from approx $3,000 US to over $40,000 US!

AND there is still almost 6 days left in the bidding!

Amazing what people will buy and why.

(see posts below for initial story)

The iPhone bidding war continues.....

(this is a follow-up from post below)

iPhone envy....hands up for those of you that don't have access to the AT&T network?

When I was in the US a month ago my American colleagues that had gotten their iPhones were excited to show the rest of us what we were missing out on.

If you don't know by the iPhone is not available to the rest of the world....and yes at the time I had severe iPhone envy.

My colleagues told me that they heard that some Aussies (go Aussie) had figured out how to crack the iPhone so they were able to go through the registration process even though they didn't have an American address.....BUT they weren't able to use it as a mobile phone (no AT&T hook-up) only as a small mobile PDA.

I was listening to several of the stories that my colleagues told of how they got their phone and then the hassle they went through to register it and get a mobile plan. It seems at the time some of my colleagues were registering only the most expensive plans were available (I think it was over 70.00 US a month). What happened to the $19.99 plans that were advertised? Sounds like the airline seat sales...."sorry we only have 1 1/2 seats available at that price and they were gone before this ad hit the web.., but we do have these seats available for 500.00 more"....

The week I was in San Francisco, the San Francisco Apple Store was sold out of their iPhones by 9am everyday.

Exploring the Apple store was interesting as they were giving workshops upstairs on how to operate your iPhone. There was a handful of people all taking notes (by pen and paper I might add) while what looked like a 20 something young man with a cap turned sideways on his head took his middle-aged audience through the wows of the iPhone they just bought on a huge wall sized projection screen. Quite entertaining.

By the end of the week I was pretty much over my iPhone envy after hearing all of the bugs and hassles that people were having. Now don't get me wrong....everyone I talked to (regardless of the hassles they had) absolutely adored their iPhone.

The darkside of the iPhone.....

The folks at APC reported there are several websites that have popped up on the web that are dedicated to "hacking the iPhone" so all may experience the iPhone joy. Hack the iPhone and the Hackintosh forum.

The one that probably has had the most press is a 17 year old named George Hotz of New Jersey. Macworld posted the story about this young man who calls himself "geohot." He has posted on his blog the 10 steps that is required to "unlock" your iPhone and how to hook it into another mobile carrier.

Here is his 15 minutes of fame.....

Quite an style! He is auctioning this iPhone on eBay !

Now before you laugh....the first bid came in at $600 US on Aug 23 at 17:40:56 of Aug 24 at 11:43:53 PDT...the bid is at $2,999.00 US! Now who's laughing? The auction is over on August 30th (PT) and I will be interested to see what price this phone goes at.


This young man is not selling the iPhone as a phone...he is selling it as a piece of history - as the "Worlds 2nd Unlocked iPhone." And of course the phone is signed by geohot himself!

I always have people asking me why I am so intrigued with technology......I respond.....who wouldn't be. It is a live soap opera everyday!

Just ask poor Beyonce who had a wardrobe malfunction recently on stage in front of thousands at a concert in Canada. Quick mobile phone users captured the incident and it was quickly posted on the web direct from the concert. Hmmm wonder if any of them used their iPhone?


Ethics and technology this is always an interesting topic for discussion in the classroom....there is so much to choose from!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Yahoo! Research Berkeley

Yahoo! Research Berkeley (no affiliation to Yahoo website) mission is "to explore and invent social media and mobile media technology and applications that will enable people to create, describe, share, find and remix media on the web. Our work combines the fields of media technology, social software, context-aware computing, mobile computing with user and design research to help shape the future of Internet media."

A great article on this website is called "Flickr of Knowledge." The question posed is what can we learn from Flickr? Good article to springboard various discussions within the class.

Some of the projects that are available to be explored from the Yahoo Research Berkeley group are:

  • Zurfer - the ability to access photos on your mobile device from Flickr.
  • Zync - is a plug-in for Yahoo Messenger that allows you and your friends (where ever they may long as you are logged onto your Yahoo Messenger account) to watch videos in sync and in real time. Both players (yours and your friend's) will load the video and play, pause, and rewind together, in can also comment on the "fly" about the video as you watch it.
  • ZoneTag - take a picture with your mobile phone, and then instantly upload it to Flickr with locaiton tags.
  • International Remix - Easy to rip, clip and share video.
  • Tag Maps - A new way to visualize text on a geographic maps. ZoneTag can upload geotagged images from your phone directly to Flickr; one connection is that the ZoneTag images are part of the data.

Check out Yahoo! Research Berkeley periodically to see what exciting projects this research group is working on next.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


Photosynth is a collaboration between Microsoft and the University of Washington based on the research that developed Photo Tourism (shown below) of Noah Snavely (UW), Steve Seitz (UW), and Richard Szeliski (Microsoft Research).

Photo Tourism "is a system for browsing large collections of photographs in 3D."

Photosynth is a new way to view photos on your computer. The software (which is a quick download from Microsoft Live Labs), takes a large collection of photos of a place or an object, analyzes them for similarities, and then displays the photos in a reconstructed three-dimensional space, showing you how each one relates to the next one....scene recognition.

Once you have the software installed, check out some of the sample collections that are available from the Microsoft Live Labs such as:

Give it a try.....

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Free Video Tutorials for industry standard is a great resource! A free video video collection is "designed to help beginners and those wishing to learn new software to become productive faster & those wanting to advance their skill set."

You can help build this community by submitting your own tutorials. Just add your URL / RSS / You Tube Code and your tutorial will be uploaded to the website.

Tutorials available on are growing everyday. Software covered are:

  • 3D Studio Max
  • Acrobat 5 & 7
  • Adobe Premiere Pro
  • Adobe After Effects
  • Bryce 5
  • Contribute
  • Cpanel
  • Dreamweaver 8 & CS3
  • Fireworks 8
  • Flash 8
  • Illustrator CS2
  • InDesign CS2
  • MS Word
  • Particle Illusion
  • Photoshop CS2 & CS3
  • Poser 6
  • Quark Xpress

Whew.....say all those fast 5 times!

Have fun exploring and finding out new tips and techniques for you and your students!

Thanks for this link Andrew :)

Monday, August 20, 2007

Digital Rage.....are you in control of your technology?

I don't like to use my blog for a soapbox...but every now and then a good rant is required!

Over the years innovators tauted that technology would make our lives easier. In the 50's the modern kitchen was to be a marvel and the little woman would no longer have to spend hours and hours preparing the meals of the day.

Computers were supposed to reduce the amount of paper we threw out...and now we have created landfills of monitors and over peripherals that cannot be disposed of properly because of the toxicities within them.

How many people have lost money from their bank accounts due to virtual theft or their identities! Which of course is now up to you to prove who you are....good luck trying to get the money back that into YOUR bank account that a "technical error" with the bank had removed and placed into ANOTHER account. Need I go on....

Last night I spend a good hour and a half setting up an Mac Airport Airbase (wireless) so all my computers in the house can be happy and work without cables all over the place and all can share a printer. Then all of a sudden my outgoing email stopped. Incoming was limping but still working. Then the spam emails started......up to 20 last night. I pay extra money for 2 firewall protections....personal and the ISP provider firewall (okay a little on the side of caution).

Hey I thought, I will jump on my webmail...must be something with the Airbase I had configured. Pulled the Airbase all apart and returned to original settings. Then tried to access my webmail....didn't even recognize my password.

Then I realized that Xtra (Telecom) had "updated" their webmail service and now I had to go through an installation process and install Yahoo Xtra Bubble...that will apparently "give me my very own place online. I have my own place online it was a nice, clean webmail interface that isn't cluttered with a lot of junk!

Then the "rage began.

Onto my telephone to call my 24 hour ISP trouble shooters. I quickly found out Xtra has a new automated digital lady to talk to you. I found out very quickly if you swear at it 3 times in a row it says it doesn't understand what you are wanting and puts you through to a "real human." Well I must have redialed 50 times between last night and this morning. THEN it would ring and ring and then just cut me off!

Finally this morning I got through to a technician who sounded so tired and worn out. I held my tongue and explained to him that before he went through the "basic" speech with me....I have probably been involved in IT longer than he has been alive and lets cut to the chase. I asked first of all why Xtra did not let their customers know this was happening. He told me they sent out emails last week that an upgrade was happening over the weekend....but according to the weekend paper only a very small percentage of Xtra account holders actually received this email (I not being one of them).

I asked if I had no other option but to have to go through the registration process for this Yahoo Bubble and then to have to install something on my laptop to access my webmail. He apologized and said sorry but if you want webmail you will have to do this. Then I asked him what else I needed to change on my computers at home....I have to change the incoming and outgoing port numbers, the smtp, enable this, disable goodness the everyday "Joe" is not going to be able to do this.

I thanked the young man for his help and told him that I hoped he had a good day as I am sure he will be swamped with "irrate" customers!

What the heck was Xtra thinking? Even the technician said sorry but this is all new to us as well and I was put on hold several times while he went to ask questions. In the end I have to install the Bubble and then go home after work today and waste more time reconfiguring the Airbase I pulled apart and change all my email account settings. The problem in New Zealand is that we have Telecom - xtra (that still thinks it is a monopoly) and probably the WORST internet speed of any developed country in the world! (eve though my colleagues in AUS complain about their broadband speed....I think NZs is still behind)

So who do you think is in control of YOUR technology....I know most of the time I THINK it is me....BUT........

The little program that needed to be downloaded and installed so your webmail "Yahoo Bubble" will has been 45 minutes and it has not installed.......AGGGGRRRRRRRHHHHHH

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Imagination Cup - The World’s Premier Student Technology Competition

This seems to be a week for competitions........

"The Imagine Cup is one way Microsoft is encouraging young people to apply their imagination, their passion and their creativity to technology innovations that can make a difference in the world – today. Now in its fifth year, the Imagine Cup has grown to be a truly global competition focused on finding solutions to real world issues."

View the world 07 winners slideshow.

The theme for 2008 is the environment - "imagine a world where technology enables a sustainable environment."

Online registration will open on August 25, 2007 for the 2008 competition. Check out the forum area for the 9 categories. The Nine different categories:

  • software design

  • embedded development
  • game development
  • Project Hoshimi
  • IT Challenge
  • Algorithm
  • Photography
  • Short Film
  • Interface Design

There is also a Innovation Accelerator Program that is in its 3rd year. Teams from the winning categories are selected for the Innovation Accelerator program . They receive technical support and business coaching to create the must-have technology and communications applications of the future. Over an intensive 2 week period, students further develop their designs and viable business plans with close guidance from some of the best minds at Microsoft and BT.

Requirements for competition:

  • You are 16 years of age or older at the time of entry.
  • You are actively enrolled as a student at an accredited educational institution that grants high-school or college/university (or equivalent) degrees any time between January 1st, 2008 and May 31st, 2008.

Get your students involved!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

MacArthur Foundation Announces $2 Million Digital Media and Learning Competition

The MacArthur Foundation just announced a public competition that will award $2 million in funding to emerging leaders, communicators, and innovators shaping the field of digital media and learning. The competition is part of MacArthur's $50 million digital media and learning initiative that aims to help determine how digital technologies are changing the way young people learn, play, socialize, and participate in civic life.

Visit the competition website at

Age: The primary applicant must be at least 21 years of age when the application is submitted; however, personnel working on the project may include students and others under the age of 21.

Residency: The primary applicant must be a U.S. citizen or resident with a work permit for the duration of the grant term. Other members of a team need not meet this requirement and can reside in other countries. Only English-language applications will be accepted this year. Current MacArthur Foundation grantees are welcome to apply.

The Competition encourages applications from individuals as well as nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, and corporations. Applicants are strongly encouraged to include a partnership with formal or informal learning or community-serving institutions, when relevant to the proposal.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Photoshop CS3 Extended Plug-In for Google 3D Warehouse

One of the many new features in Adobe® Photoshop CS3 Extended is the capability to open 3D models (files supported are: .kmz, 3ds, .obj, .dae and .u3d).

There is a new plugin that can be downloaded for free from Adobe Labs called Photoshop CS3 Extended Plug-In for Google 3D Warehouse . With Photoshop CS3 Extendeds new 3D capabilities and this plugin, you can now "search and download 3D models from Google 3D Warehouse™ directly from Adobe® Photoshop CS3 Extended."

If you haven't used Google 3D Warehouse before, it is a site where people can upload their 3D models and access 3D models for free.

Once you install the plugin (for either Mac or PC). Open up Photoshop CS3 Extended and choose File -->Automate-->Search Google for 3D models...

Google 3D Warehouse will open within your Photoshop CS3 Extended workarea.

Once you have found a model you want, click on download. You will be asked to save it to your computer and it will be saved as a .kmz extension. Then it is read by Photoshop (remember you NEVER have to leave your Photoshop workspace) and then it opens within Photoshop CS3 Extended.

You can access the 3D toolbar by Double clicking on the 3D icon in the Layer Thumbnail (shown on the left). You can also access it by either choosing Layer -->3D Layers --> Transform 3D Model.

If your model has layers you can alter the layers (colour, texture, etc...)

Great add on to extend the workflow within an interactive media program or cross-curricular.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Social PowerPoint Presentations?????

Everything on the web now is about sharing and social commenting....even our PowerPoints!

Slideshare is a place on the web to host and share your presentations. Now you can even create a slidecast which is a combination of your slides + podcast (audio).

How to get started
• Upload your presentation file to SlideShare.
• Go to Edit slideshow>Create Slidecast tab. Enter your mp3 url there
• Synchronize slides & audio using the synchronization tool and click publish

Your Slidecast is now ready for public viewing on SlideShare or anywhere else you embed the presentation.

I found this Slideshare by Alexei Kapterev and thought it would be suiting to include a "Death by PowerPoint" slideshare :)

You can embed or link any of your presentations or presentations that have been made public on Slideshare on your blog or website. If you are familiar with YouTube....then you are familiar with Slideshare. Your presentation is bundled up into a flash file (swf).

Slidecasts can be loaded onto blogs for students to view if sick or use for study tools.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Web 2.5 Entrepreneurs

Web 1.0 was the ability to left click and hyperlink somewhere new and exciting on the web. The ability to watch amazingly looooong flash intros on websites.

Web 2.0 allowed users to interact and make decisions on how things would look and now have the freedom to publish words, images, sound and video to the web.

Web 2.5
is a term I use because I don't believe we have reached Web 3.o (or the semantic web) potential yet. Web 2.5 allows users to manipulate and publish their data all within a web portal. Many companies are experimenting with this and there are free (or should I say Beta) web applications all over the web right now that give you free storage, communication tools, publishing tools, etc....

The Web 2.5 Entrepreneur takes advantage of all of these web tools to develop, advertise and market their services/products.

Leo Bridle embraces Web 2.0 with his winning video for TheFirstPost. This talented young film maker/animator combines an old technology (stop motion animation) to describe a new technology (Web 2.0). Within many of his short films he uses a combination of cut-out animation, stop motion, simple green screen techniques along with digital video techniques. This Web 2.0 is probably one of my favourite short films....each time I watched it I picked up something new....great piece (great audio as well).

Bridle is an example of the "Web 2.5 entrepreneur", using the Web 2.0/2.5 tools that are openly available to say "hey this is what I am doing."

What has YouTube done for his career?

Added to YouTube 10 months ago, as of this moment, this particular short film has had:
Views: 933,938

Comments: 1884
Favorited: 4366 times

His other short films that he has posted on YouTube have had similar success....that is a lot of free marketing and exposure for this young film maker. Even though some of the comments left are "cool printer dude...wish my printer would print pizza!" or " wow! thatz the pimpest thing i've seen! itz amazin how u did it! great job u guyz really!?" Of the almost 2000 comments that had been posted for this short video only about a quarter could be used for constructive feedback. That is what social commenting is all about, you take the good with the bad.

The Web 2.5 entrepreneur is a person who goes to the Internet for free marketing and exposure....this is exactly what Bridle along with thousands of others do as 2nd nature everyday. Their digital business cards probably lists their:
  • website
  • MySpace URL
  • IM
  • Skype
  • blogging URL
  • and possibly SecondLife name
Are we preparing students in the classroom to be Web 2.5 or 3.0 entrepreneurs in schools today?

Showing this short film to anyone that you need to teach the concept of Web 2.0 to is a great springboard. Have your group watch this short film and then break into small groups to discuss all the things they observed from the film that they thought represented Web 2.0. Moving into having the groups discuss where Web 3.0 will take us? How can entrepreneurs use these web technologies?

Friday, August 10, 2007

Desktop publishing starts to move to the web....

Web 2.0 is shifting what we did with standalone computer applications to web based applications. The earliest form of a web based application was Web Email....many have moved from using applications like Outlook as their only email source and also use Hotmail, Gmail, etc... just a couple of the many web based email services now available for free.

Limitations to web based applications and the success of these will depend on the Internet connections...which in many countries (sad to say) are still not efficient.

Still need a quick overview of Web 2.0? Watch the video (from YouTube) called: " 'Web 2.0' in just under 5 minutes. " by Michael Wesch (if you don't see the video below your network probably has YouTube blocked).

Tabblo (supported by HP) is a unique website that allows users to upload photos from a variety of sources (within Tabblo, Picasa, Flickr, your computer, etc...). You can create a number of different documents once logged into your free Tabblo account such as:

  • online (photo album....a "tabblos")
  • comic
  • photocube (that you print and cutout)
  • a book
  • poster
  • postcard
Customizable layout and design tools let you swap and resize pictures, add photo effects, customize colors and layouts, and add text to help you tell your story.

The Tabblo community: share your stuff, see what others are doing, see the photo challenges that are available for users to participate in.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Create your own video wall for your blog or MySpace page and more....

Known as the Remote Control for the Video Web, blinkx has an index of over 14 million hours of video....the website claims to be the largest and most advanced video search engine. With "more than 200 media partnerships, including national broadcasters, commercial media giants, and private video libraries, it has cemented its position as the premier destination for online TV."

blinkx users can search for video content, create personal video playlists, or build a customized Video Wall for their blog or MySpace page. The search engine behind blinkx was developed by a Cambridge University computer science graduate, Suranga Chandratilleke.

blinkx has come a long way since its development in 2004. What makes blinkx unique is it has spiders that search the audio track of millions of videos and indexes them. As some audio tracks many not have words metadata is also indexed.

Teachers can build a video wall for their classroom blog that deals with their classroom content. Students can build personal playlists to help them with their research projects. Give it a try.

My video wall for Barry Bonds (below)...successfully hitting #756 and beating the all time record...may take a minute to load...your school firewall may have some of the videos blocked. Just click on the box to activate and as you move your mouse over the video images each one will expand.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Web sites moving to Web Television

Since YouTube, there are more and more websites coming online that are offering users the ability to create their own personal web television channels. There is a movement away from "stupid people trick" videos and a movement now into very specific niches and uses for web television.

The first site is "It is a professional network and marketplace for ideas and businesses. Anyone, across all industries, at any stage, can share ideas, products, services and businesses with the rest of the world, mainly through video."

Have 3 minutes to pitch your idea, business, skillset or need......What's your pitch?

The hope is that people via can network, exchange knowledge and collaborate with other people who can help those ideas get to the next level. People can use to get their ideas or needs discovered or to find, discover and connect with others in networks of interest.

Interesting idea for young entrepreneur programs.

The second site is Ourmedia ...."Video producers and podcasters can use Ourmedia to show off their works and create communities of interest. "

You can create your own Channels of interest either as a producer or as a user. Ourmedia allows you to share your user created content, but they'll also host it at the Internet Archive for free as long as you're willing to share your work with a global audience.

Ourmedia also has a Personal Media Learning Center that is aimed to help users create video, audio, and other forms of citizens' media. Presently there are resources for video (how to create a videoblog, video compressions, etc...), audio (how to create a podcast, editing and compression, etc...), multimedia (how to screencast), digital photography tips, and text (how to write for the web.)

A great way to introduce video production for the web. Also teachers will be able to create video tutorials and then create their own channels for their students to view.

The ability to personalize any space on the web is and will become an important factor for the consumers of today but especially tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Online media album...telling digital stories

VoiceThread (beta) is a different way to build voice stories/communities through the web.

I think I could use VoiceThreads this morning as I have completely lost my voice to a winter bug :(

"A VoiceThread is an online media album that allows people to make comments, either audio or text, and share them with anyone they wish. A VoiceThread allows an entire group's story to be told and collected in one place."

The VoiceThread marketing team created a great diagram explaining what VoiceThread "is not." They call it the proverbial elephant....check it out (roll your mouse over all of the points).

The cool thing about VoiceThread is you can have 1oo's of voices that comment on one of your images. Each voice is represented by a small avatar/image of that person. You can click on each image and hear the message the person left.

It could be a great tool that is used for peer review/collaboration. Students could post their work and other students could comment and critique the work by leaving audio messages (VoiceThreads).

Start with a story concept and use VoiceThreads to build the story....everyone could add a piece....what direction would your story take?

Monday, August 06, 2007

Access free archived webpages, moving images, texts, audio, software and more

Internet Archive (a non-profit) "is a digital library of Internet sites and other cultural artifacts in digital form. Like a paper library, they provide free access to researchers, historians, scholars, and the general public." June, 2007 the Internet Archive officially became a library according to the State of California.

The Internet Archive includes texts, audio, moving images, and software as well as archived web pages in our collections.

Presently in the archive there are:

  • 81,652 movies
  • 41,948 concerts (live music archive)
  • 167,691 recordings (audio)
  • 239,925 texts
  • 85 billion pages (archived webpages)

This collection is growing everyday!

Text, for example, can be available in a variety of formats: PDF, DjVu, B/W PDF, TXT, Flip Book, and via FTP.

Great tool for research and presentations:

Whether you are looking for a video or audio files for a presentation/assignment there are an amazing collection of media files to download.

NOTE: As this website is based on "free speech and free access to all" there may be content on here that is not appropriate for young children. Please be sure to check through web content prior to using in a classroom with students.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Designing for Small Screens and Mobility

After attending the Adobe Education Leadership Institute last week in San Francisco (see postings for the last week of July) and listening to the various presentations by product enforces my plea to digital media instructors (if you haven't already).......start teaching your students HOW to design for small screens AND everyone else should be at least having discussions around the impact/influences this is having on our lives (good and bad).

Of course the only restriction to HOW SMALL the industry will be able to go with screen size is going to be the restriction of the human eye. I already know of several new technologies that are addressing this issue now and I am sure there will be many more ideas/designs in development to deal with our human deficiencies.

A great book that I found while wandering the bookstore at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) a week ago (at a day session with the LifeLongKindergarten research group). There were so many great books....but there is only so much weight one can carry on the plane! Designing for Small Screens written by a group of authors that call themselves Studio 7.5 . It is an easy book to read with a lot of great images that you could use in your classroom. It starts with the history of mobile devices and then moves into understanding how to design for a small screen.

Another great book to accompany this book that I have written about last year is sisomo (sight, sound, motion) by Kevin Roberts. That discusses how "screens" impact and interact with our lives.

Two good books to start you going (along with the links below) if you are designing or teaching for small screens (which in my opinion....needs to be taught in ANY interactive media program).

Further Resources:

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Should adults look at video games for their own brain development....

How many times have you stopped to look for the keys? I could have sworn I just set them down on the counter...... Starting to write reminders about your reminders? Find you are forgetting to read your sticki notes....that are usually posted somewhere near the front of your face?

I just read a great article from Scientific American Mind called "Circuit Training Computer games for mental workouts"

"If your brain is older than you, you should take note!" In a world where we worry about how old we look and what we eat (well at least most of us do).....should we worry about how old our brain is?

There are now several computer games available for adults in the market that are "brain training" for the older generation. "The challenge, to reduce one's brain age, is proving addictive among Japan's baby boomers, many of whom say their only contact with game consoles was limited to bemused glances over the shoulders of grandchildren. "(read more on this....)

Research has shown that we need to work our brains. There are no magic pills or "made for TV" machines that will do this for us.

Crossword puzzles are only part of the brain gym....the rigorous equipment you need (beyond the usual good good, rest and exercise) are challenging activities for the brain that will keep it producing neurons.

Some of the "brain training" software has said to help with: memory, language, motor skills, executive function (problem solving) and visual skills. Does it really work or is it another marketing ploy? Only time will tell.

We worry about our kids sitting in front of a computer game...but will they have a fitter mind and a better life in their old age than those of us that ran around outside playing "hide and seek?"

Other Articles:

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Free Interactive 3D Program....Alice

Alice is a 3D authoring system (thanks to Derek Wenmoth for this link) developed by the Stage 3 Research Group from Carnegie Mellon University.

Read the article at Science News for Kids explains why the Stage 3 Research Group decided to call this program Alice.

"The focus of the Alice project is now to provide the best possible first exposure to programming for students ranging from middle schoolers to college students." Alice allows students to learn basic computer science while creating animated movies, simple video games, where students control the behavior of 3D objects and characters in a virtual world.

Alice is opensource that means you can modify and learn from the program. Opensource also means that you now become a part of the Alice Community and share what you learn with other Alice users.

If you haven't seen my previous post on Scratch you need to give this free program a look as well. I spent the day at MIT (Massachusettes Institute of Technology) with the group that developed more...

I would highly recommend downloading this application and giving it a try in your class. I downloaded it yesterday and had a play and in no time had created a character that was moving and shaking around the screen.