Saturday, 28 July 2007

Thrilling weekend entertainment

I expect most of us can think back to 1983 and remember the video that accompanied the song “Thriller”. Well, I was reading the BBC news on the web and came across this article about YouTube and what inmates in Filipino prisons are doing nowadays. So I followed the link and it’s nothing like what you see in jail movies (Prisonbreak, OZ, Porridge, etc). While you’re there, have a look at the “Algorithm Dance” too, which reminded me of Pat’s class’s effort at the Refugee Day Concert this year (See pic). Something for our next student concert – so start training them now.

Having watched this video, I then went and reminded myself of the original choreography here and you have to give it to the inmates, they're pretty good. As I said on Friday, related videos are listed at the right, and I chanced on one on the same theme which must have taken hours to make. It's all single frame stop motion video! Have a look here. So if you don’t know what to do in your free time or you don’t have any ideas for an ESL video, then get your kids’ lego out, begin filming and try and match this!

Better go and do something more useful now....

Saturday, 14 July 2007

Migrant workers in Beijing

Just viewed the video Sonja recommended ages ago! An interesting way to draw attention to their situation - along with artwork etc
I wonder about our shortterm overseas workers here in Oz eg in abattoirs etc - it's all kept pretty quiet!


Friday, 13 July 2007

Photo source

I first opened my “flickr” account over a year ago, but didn’t really investigate it, having other things to do. Then I became embroiled in Google so naturally set up my own Picasa Web Album for my online photos. But then….I thought I had better see what the talk about “flickr” was about and so had another closer look this holiday when there is time to do this sort of thing and after discovering I already had an account ( I had forgotten, so it’s a good job I keep my username the same for all applications) I was impressed with a capital V and I am even going to give my picasa web account away.

Plus: Browsing for photos and uploading them is extremely easy – you can do six at a time and add a generic tag for all six. Once up there, you can easily add individual tags, descriptions and titles to the six photos you have just uploaded. So ease of upload and tagging, although you can’t upload direct from Picasa ( that is until Google buys up Yahoo!) is a definite plus.

Plus: Once you’re there, you will be overwhelmed by the quantity of information up there. For example click on a photo and look down the right – unknown to you, when you uploaded your photos, you also uploaded further details, including the camera type and technical settings. Click on the camera type and get a whole load of useful(?) information about your particular camera. You can also click on location and find out (if the uploader has put it in) where the photo was taken. Who recognized the tree? I am beginning to find this a bit scary…

Plus: The quantity of photos up there. Millions – put a word in the search engine, as obscure as possible, and you will find photos galore. What is good about them is that you can borrow most of them yourself for your own nefarious purposes. The uploader can stipulate what sort of copyright is placed on a photo and the majority have a free-to-use-as-long-as-it’s-not-commercial-and-you-acknowledge-me licence. When you search, go into “Advanced Search” and click on the “Creative Commons” tick-box (you have to scroll down the page) and then you can use these in your worksheets, newsletters and novels without worrying about copyright. An excellent resource and, in fact, obviates the need for you to go out and take photos yourself.
Have a look and make an additional photostory with flickr pics.

(Photo of tree courtesy of klopstock)

Saturday, 7 July 2007

Photostory at a distance

Fortunately, I managed to avert the problems as we had in the live session (i.e. Photostory wouldn't run because MediaPlayer was too old a version so had to download new MediaPlayer etc) by asking the IT Tech staff at Geraldton and Albany to install Photostory3 before the sessions so we could go straight into it.

Because I was not able to practise teaching the session with Elluminate during the live session because so much time had been wasted with MediaPlayer, I didn't know what to expect , but fortunately, once again Sue Waters was available to help (even though she was on leave) and we managed to trial the application-sharing capabilities of Elluminate and to our joy, it was possible to see what was happening the other end.

The Thursday session went very smoothly (we knew Photostory was installed and Elluminate functioned) and I was able to conduct the lesson from the safety of my own home (isn't this what we all want to do?) and Marnie produced a story about her students' trip to the bush.

Friday was a bit more problematic and after a delay due to headsets not working in Albany (thanks John for sorting that out on the last afternoon of term) and in Perth (to get out of the way, I went to Lab 2 with its ancient steam-turbine driven machines but had to give up due to the gas escaping froom the valves and causing hissing in the headset and so returned to my PC in the office where my monologue made it difficult for others to work), we started. It had been easy with individual tuition in Geraldton on Thursday, but it seemed that the work was increased exponentially in Albany as there were five down there all making their individual stories. Once again, Sue W, who was there to observe again, aided and abetted and suggested the five be put into separate Elluminate sub-rooms (this means that they can only hear others when they are in the same room) and work at their own speed. While they did this Sue and I went from room to room, asking them to application share (too long hereafter jargoned to appshare) so we could see their progress. Delay was longer than Perth-Perth or even Perth-Geraldton so often I could see what Jill or Lillian was doing and advised them to click on the rainbow icon, but in fact they had already done so and were miles ahead doing something else. It also seemed very intensive to jump from room to room and help out; repeating the same instructions to each person over their shoulder as you go round a real room is not as exhausting as doing the same when there is a couple of seconds gap and you can't see the person's face. Sue was assisting me here as co-moderator but even with an average of only 2.5 participants each, it was tiring.

However, we completed the session with an average grade of "C" (Jill brought the average down with her "E" because of no mike) and everyone had the seeds of a digistory (you know I hate contracted portmanteau words but I am realising that it is easier to create these than type out the full version - of course I could also write it in Word and use Edit>Replace {maybe next time}) . I understand some of you had already had a session on Photostory, but I think you learnt some extra useful tips with zooming and transitioning etc.

Things that came up with Elluminate:
Problems moving people to rooms: Elluminate does not allow instant right-click on names; so left-click to select and then right click to action.
Giving instructions: often difficult due to delay and participant has already done it (or worse something else) before you have seen it. It was not possible to see the completed video through appshare - I will have to investigate more the Media Library function in Elluminate.
Individual rooms: successful in being able to see what one person is doing without disturbing the others; but have to remember to click mike and re-request appshare every time moderator flits from room to room.
People lost: sometimes people left alone in a room did not know how to proceed and it took time to go to help them after disengaging from one to go to another.

It will be some time before we meet again because of the holidays so you have plenty of opportunity to complete a superior photostory - next time we will look at disseminating these so others can view them.

NB If you have any questions over the break, don't worry about interrupting me if I am online on GTalk or Skype (klopstockalling); I am quite willing to assist.

PS (5 hours later) Just noticed that Sue W has also posted her comments here.

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Into digital stories...

First of all, well done all of you and particularly, Jean, Clare and Anna for producing such excellent “how to“ resources. It just goes to show that preparation does help. I am also sorry that Wendy and Claire were unable to access their sticks and make their own (I daresay equally as excellent) digital stories. We have been able to isolate this problem of the non-acceptance of memory sticks and it’ll be alright next time….(doesn’t help you last week, does it?)

It was also unfortunate for me that because we spent so much time actually getting started after upgrading the computers to the correct form of MediaPlayer, that I felt it expedient not to spend so much time and teach through Elluminate. This means that I will be flying blind in my online session next Thursday and don’t know what problems I can expect!

Once again I ask those participants who will be attending the online sessions on Thursday and Friday, to read through the pre-reading, look at some of the digital stories I have linked to, have some ideas as to what kind of story to create and lastly, print off the notes for PhotoStory. Till then.