Assignment 8 – This Is The End – #edtechcca8

The final assignment for #edtechcc is here. You must summarise what you have gained or achieved through participating in The Educational Technology Creative Collective.

Here’s what I said at the start and what I set out to do:

I hope this proves to be a great vehicle for investigating and experimenting with digital technologies that ultimately enhances the education of those we teach. Where I have knowledge I hope (want) to share and where I don’t, I hope you will share with me. My goal, in all this, is to be a better teacher; to gain experience of different digital technologies that will enhance what I do and so the learning of my pupils. And I also hope it will be fun!

First and foremost I have Thoroughly enjoyed the experience: it was fun! #edtechcca coincided with me entering the 21st century’s Digital and Social Media arena, which in truth I was a little hesitant to do at first. Now, it’s very much part of my teaching pedagogy, with me looking for every opportunity to enhance my teaching and by extension the learning of my pupils via digital means. A real good example of this can be seen here http://goo.gl/5HyiQ or http://prezi.com/y2i4mixcvgjr/renewable-energy/ It was through using Audacity and AudioBoo as part of this that I had the confidence to use them in this blog.

Although  online presentation software Prezi was not part of #edtechcca it was through my contact with Colin (and others in it) that I was introduced to the software – and it has had a big impact. The Prezi viewed here – http://goo.gl/hRkYM – was my presentation to my professional association: the up-shot of which is a motion being put to the SSTA Conference in May in support of teachers using social media (I’m really chuffed about this).

In participating I’ve become more confident in using the Web as a teaching and leaning aid and use it when I can and when appropriate in my lessons. Has it made me a better teacher? Time will tell! I certainly believe that it has enhance my teaching and the experiences of the pupils.

Finally, it has rekindled my love and passion for photography and for this (and the rest), I thank you Colin!

Audio to follow

Assignment 7 – Storytime – #edtechcca7

This assignment is about writing a story. I made this tool as a prompt for game design students to come up with ideas for new video games. 

Generate two random characters, a location and an objective using the tool below and then try writing a plausible story based on the random elements. The story may be for a book, film or videogame.

I used Colin’s ‘random idea generator’ and this is what it through up (1st time):

My initial thoughts are:

Farmer in living on the edge of the Brazilian rain forest discovers a plant that could be the cure that would save humanity and put pharmaceutical giant GluxCo (any similarity to any organisations/persons  living or dead is purely coincidental) out of business. They (GluxCo.) send an industrial spy to try and find out about the plant and farmer and if necessary put him out of business or put him ‘away’.

The idea would be to make an Eco/Ethical Business game out of this scenario, where the hero (farmer) has to find a way of getting the product to market without giving up his secret or damaging the Rain Forrest.

Okay, not bad for 15 minutes in the ‘wee room’! If only I could draw, write or design games I think I could retire! 😉

I really like Colin’s idea generator, I would never have come up with this scenario and I can see many uses for it in school – just need to free up the curriculum …

#edtechcca6

Use Google Maps to create your own custom map that includes photographs of places.

I had high hopes for this assignment, but…

http://g.co/maps/c3zfu

Hhmmm, not a big fan of this bit of software, very limiting.

  • Clicking and moving the cursor around the map was clumsy, at times the map would randomly move or not move at all;
  • The icons are limiting, very limiting;
  • no function to allow for embedding your own pics or vids from hard drive.

All in all as a Google bit of s/w this was awful, clunky and very 20th C. Not good enough Google!

Embedding a Prezi

Part of my own CPD has had me using (and trying to perfect) the free online presentation software Prezi. I’ve introduced it to some of my classes and in a number of cases some of the pupils have resorted to using Facebook as a means of collaborative communications. If you’re reading this the likelihood is that the following Prezi is preaching to the converted. Embedding it is part of my learning, I had some initial problem with the code – Colin Maxwell pointed me in this direction http://goo.gl/nGz9Q and the advice solved the problem

This is one for my school

#edtechcca4

Make a video clip of yourself hitting your tennis ball as if you are playing in a tennis match. You may make more than one clip, however you must hit the ball with a different random object each time (the sillier, the better!). After two weeks we will gather all of the clips together and edit them together to make a long tennis rally video. At the end of the two weeks I’ll post instructions on how to share your videos with the group. The completed tennis rally video is due on 29th February.

This one I’ve been looking forward to as shooting and editing video is something I’m keen to incorporate in my  CDP and lessons. It’s going to be tricky now given that my camera has packed in.

#edtechcca5

A new photographic assignment will be posted here every two days until February 20th. Make as many of these photographs as you can and share them on our Facebook group. The Kodak website contains some tips on taking better photos.

Photo Assignments

1. 8th – Make a photograph of a plastic object that you’ve used today.
A Staedtler Noris pencil sharpener – I use this on a daily basis and would give it a five star rating. Need a new camera though, the auto-focus is not good!
2. 10th – Make a photograph where LIGHT is a main element in the image. Set of three candles. I used my daughter’s camera for this. There’s no way of disabling the flash in such low light levels, so I covered it with my figure.

3. 12th – Make a photo of part of an everyday object and let everyone guess what it is.

4. 14th – Make a photograph focussing on nature – animals, plants, landscapes, etc. In truth this one was shot 2 years ago, but I like it and my camera has packed up. Can you guess where it is? 

  

5. 16th Make of photograph of technology that you use often. It was either going to be this or my PC! 

6. 18th What’s the weather like this weekend? Well, at 08.45 this morning it was 5o and bright blue skies. So I got out my bike and went for a cycle. The shots posted here are taken on the town’s promenade using the school’s Sony alpha 300, set on ‘scenic’ using an 18 – 50mm auto focus lens.

Kirkcaldy Harbour looking East from the Prom.

I took a series of photos:

Looking across to Edinburgh (taken with Sony)

Looking across to Edinburgh (taken with phone camera)

Kdy harbour and Dysart from west end of Prom.

One of the oldest buildings in the town

   7. 20th – Take a photograph from an unusual angle. We had a Web Development meeting after school today, so I took the opportunity to take some photos using the school’s Sony camera. Here are my co-conspititors

WebDev team discuss ... something!

 

This one is of the items I couldn’t do without sitting on my desk

Items I couldn't do without

#edtechcca3 Assignment 3 – Make a comic-strip

Make a comic-strip style set of instructions for a practical task. The task you choose is entirely up to you. It could be something that relates to your subject area, or alternatively you can do something more generic like starting up and shutting down a computer, how to set an alarm clock, or how to use the office photocopier.

I’m in the middle of marking prelims right now (and building a new website for the school) so don’t have any free time.

However I did manage this

It’s not great and I would have loved to have put in much more effort, but ran out of time!

#edtechcca2 – Assignment 2 – The Sight of Sound

For this assignment, combine audio effects into a soundscape to represent a place or an event. This assignment may not be suitable for all educational areas, so please feel free to create a soundscape for a scene from a favourite book or a poem, or come up with another idea.

Much more challenging this one, I’ve never used audio editing software before. So, I thought I’d better jot down some thoughts. I liked my first, so went with it.

The idea is to represent my Technological Studies class in sound. In the final version I’ve altered some of the timings and elements, but it’s ostensibly the same.

I found the sites that Colin recommended very helpful:

  • Soundbible – free sound clips
  • Freesound – registered and found most clips here required, well laid out site with useful annotation

For the suggested tools for mixing sound I selected:

  • Audacity as I had heard of it. Not the most intuitive piece of s/w I’ve every used, but having downloaded it … The most irksome issue was the inability to convert to MP3 format. This was overcome with a file download – the site for this is amongst the poorest I’ve seen (in layout) with lots of unnecessary s/w with huge “press me” buttons – a deadly trap for the unwary caller.
And for the audio service:

  • AudioBoo again, I had heard of it and very straight forward

The 1st ten seconds are of general class chatter, typical for my classes. The round of applause may seem out of place but it’s something I use (intro from Nirvana Unplugged) to get their attention, this one is a free sample from Freesound. The voice is NOT mine, but you get the idea. The clicking that follows represents switches – operating circuits with buzzers and motors. This is followed by air escaping form a pneumatic system and the system operating. Then all the sounds are put together with a bell ending the session. I need to work on some of the levels, but over all I’m really pleased with it.

My Learning:

  • Found and downloaded sound files.
  • Used audio editing s/w for the 1st time; manipulated the sound files in Audacity
  • Created an AudioBoo account and uploaded my creation to it
  • Embedded AudioBoo in my blog post

#edtechcca1, Assignment 1 – Signs & Symbols

Make two signs or symbols using a graphics tool of your choice. The first sign should be for your own department or course, the second sign should be for another educational department or course. Use only pictures, no words. Use only simple abstracted shapes, no photographs.

As a teacher of graphics the pressure is on.

There are different families of signs, but they basically breakdown into:

–mandatory signs

–prohibition signs

–warning signs

–safety signs

So I  thought I’d go with what we teach. I’ve also decided to use the new software (Serif), introduced this session in the department – a good learning experience for me as I’ve not used it much so far.

This is my first effort, not sure which Dept. could use it!

There is a bit of  pixelation, but that’s probably down to the quality of the initial graphic chosen. The eyes, the head (not cut) and all the stuff pouring out are taken form libraries in the software. The main piece of manipulation came with the head, that had to be cut. In fact it’s two images with different part discarded. Still a little more work required to get it to Standard Grade level.

Following the theme of sticking to BSI Symbols, here’s my second offering:

Again, it has been put together in Serif (Draw) and to be honest it was fairly straight forward. My brain needs a bit of attention, a bit fuzzy round the edges, and so is the image …

What has been the learning for me has been the manipulation of images in WordPress and the exporting from the software in a format that can be used (Serif produces .pds or .ppp files), I’ve found out doing this that they can be exported as JPEGS – result!

I thought I’d have a go at uploading a file, it’s the Signs & Symbols element from out course at school. It might be useful.

Signs & Symbols

#edtechcc Preliminary Task

The script says “Tell us something about yourself and what you hope to get from joining”. That’s the first task for those of us signed up for the Educational Technology Creative Collective, so here goes …

For the ‘about yourself’ bit, well, you best read my “Welcome” (here on the right) and “About The Author”, and if you have time (and the inclination), my 1stblog, says it all really (but no pressure). So why have I joined up and what do I hope to get out of it? Firstly, I know Colin (always helps) and I love the stuff he does and his ‘take’ on it (educationally). I believe, as professionals, we should not put up barriers but have an ‘open door’ policy and share with other professionals and like-minded people the good, the bad and the ugly of what we are trying in our classrooms.

I love collaborating with fellow educators; I hope this proves to be a great vehicle for investigating and experimenting with digital technologies that ultimately enhances the education of those we teach. Where I have knowledge I hope (want) to share and where I don’t, I hope you will share with me. My goal, in all this, is to be a better teacher; to gain experience of different digital technologies that will enhance what I do and so the learning of my pupils. And I also hope it will be fun! 🙂