Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Simpsonize Yourself

If you visit the Simpsonize Me site you can build a meme for yourself as a character from The Simpsons from any personal image stored on your computer.
There are a few warnings :
* Your image may not be able to be rendered if the contrast in the picture is not great enough, it was suggested that a bit of photo editing would solve that one.
*At some times of the day it can take ages to render your image ( at 11am UK I gave u as it had taken well over 20 minutes!!! 11pm UK it took just 5 minutes to complete the whole process.
At the website you can also adjust your image once it has been rendered, tweeking it. Also you can place your new meme in a Simpson's Landscape.... A fun project for the summer holiday time, especially for fans of the family from Springfield.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Update on the Zamzar v Vixy post of a few days ago ( converting files for iPod)

I have toiled away with both converters over the weekend, using 2 different browsers ( Safari and Flock), the results of this research ( even thoughit's only me!)
Flock didn't like either Zamzar or Vixy - Vixy being the least capable of coping out of the 2 converters - I only managed to download a relatively short video for iPod use. Zamzar was slightly better as it did download one sizeable file, and tried to download others only to fail part way thorugh the process.
Safari didn't like Vixy and failed to even attempt a download - curling up its toes on each occasion, coming up with a differenr excuse ( blaming others!), whereas Zamzar worked a treat in Safari and managed to download a few TED Talks, and BlipTV videos with ease.

The result from me would have to be success for Zamzar working with Safari as the browser.

Just one of those days!

Saturday afternoon and into Sunday early evening disappear amongst the timed feeds and nappy changes ( don't even go there!) which come with being a grandparent and having the grandkids to 'sleep over'.
It was a realtively quiet night ( just a feed at 12.30am not bad at all), but an early morning everyone awake and up playing at 6am!!! on a Sunday - however peace decended for around an hour and a half from 10 am when both thankfully went to sleep!!! ( yay)

We of course love them both (1 - 18 months and 1 - 6months)to bits, however thin veneer of a 'normal' weekend disappears into the dim distance once you are 'in the zone', which we have been since said Saturday afternoon. We were able to spend time in the garden over the weekend as the weather Gods smiled on our corner of South Wales, this gave us the opportunity to show off some unusual headwear!

Normality descended at around 6.30pm when a car full of sleepy children and their belongings departed for home ( around 5 miles away) - and two bemused grandparents quietly dozed in the lounge!!!! ( well at least I plan to after blogging!!!)

You can't always keep up with the blogosphere - real life has a habit of interevning......... I'm off for a lie down now ..... goodnight everyone ( could you keep the twitter noise down please I'm sleepy :-0

Friday, July 27, 2007

I had a slightly unusual request by e-mail the other day from a friend of mine, Chris Fuller of the Edgehill College Spanish Podcasts( check out Chris's European Championship Football -Soccer - wiki). Chris is currently wondering whether or not to spend his hard earned expenses ( thank you British Council ) on a video iPod or not ( friends also have iRivers!).
Chris's email contained a windows media file attachment of animals names in Spanish, he asked if i could put the file ontot the iPod and play it!!!???
Initially my answer was 'Sorry no!' my Mac won't even recognise the file extension, let alone place the fiel into iTunes!!!
I remembered then that a week or so ago Chris had blogged about the file conversion site Zamzar, here was an excellent opportunity to see if it could handle the task. The file was duly uploaded to My documents, browsed for in Zamzar - converted to .mov ( I also converted it to MP4 just in case). A quick conversion - followed by a few minutes wait for an email with the link - hey presto file found and set to open with iTunes.
I guess wit the whole operation taking around 10 minutes, the file was synced with the iPod and Chris's words and slideshow running on the video screen - Well Done Zamzar, and all thanks really to Chris for asking the question and for giving the answer :)
** amendment to post 11.25pm Friday 27th July **
Following a conversation with Allanah King in New Zealand who was kind enough to leave a comment earlier regarding her 80GB iPod, we were discussing downloading video to the iPod and AK suggested an online converter that she uses called Vixy. Vixy is still in Beta form and is a bit temperamental but will easily convert YouTube or TeacherTube - or I guess SlideCast video's to a form which you can then open in iTunes and sync to the iPod.
Yet another plus point for the iPod - Thanks Allanah

SlideShare goes audio - SlideCast

Thanks to Alan Levine over at his CogDog Blog for this snippet of news. Alan has been working on a project called "There must be 50 ways to tell a web 2.0 story" , he has created a fab wiki( I love some of the video sharing sites - try to catch the Star Wars parody Store Wars!!!! brilliant or the documentary on 'What to do in a Zombie attack (1950's style public service film) )whixh sadly I have visited and failed to make note of so now can't find ( Cogdog if you catch this please help with a link !!!).
Linked to his work Alan has used the new sound enabled Slideshare - SlideCast now you can upload your presentation slides - record an mp3 audio file to fit the slide show (or edit from within Slideshare). This is a great alternative to using Garageband (if you don't have a Mac) or MS Photostory ( which you have to download). I cannot say yet how easy it is to put together an 'all singing, all dancing' presentation using SlideShare with audio, but Alan has put together this excellent re-mastered presentation called Dominoe - take a look and see where this could take you and your pupils in their digital storytelling. I know that in September I for one plan to give my new pupils the chance to take out digital still cameras and tell thier own digital stories - and this will be a great help - thanks Alan, and Barbara Ganley for her work using slideshare to tell a powerful story ( what a great use for a presentation tool!).

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Just watch it !!!

Transglobal Flashmeeting

Here is the map showing the spread of attendees at last evenings Flashmeeting - truly spanning the globe from UK( Wales and the Isle of Wight), US ( Pennsylvania), Australia (Sydney) and New Zealand (Dunedin) thanks folks :) it was great fun to run, hopefully giving Flashmeeting itself a wider audience - we look forward to many class to class Flashmeetings taking place in the near future - link to Flashmeeting .

Using YouTube in Education

Having received a comment regarding my Skitch invites ( 1 left now??) from ICT Blog I did what all good educational bloggers do, had a look at ICT Blog... and as part of a discussion on Art in Education there was the following excellent YouTube video, which could be integrated into a lesson on sketch and form very easily - thanks for the video Linda.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

** Below is the main introduction page for Flashmeeting, an internet videoconferencing tool run by Kmi, a research arm of The Open University in the UK ( helped out by E2BN)
our meeting along with notes on the discussion are to be found at this link.
The simple meeting tool that works in a web browser
and creates instant web replays!
about About
What is FlashMeeting?
quick start QuickStart
Tips on how to use FlashMeeting and FlashBoard.
help Help
Advice and instructions about using FlashMeeting, Memo Replay, and FAQs.
Also get a 'Sign In' account from here.
research Research
KMi's research into online meeting environments.

<span class=login" border="0" height="36" width="36"> Login
Book a FlashMeeting or administer your account.
demo Demo
Try out FlashMeeting now!
feedback Forum & Feedback
The forum for the FlashMeeting community. You don't need to register to contribute.
<span class=folksonomy" border="0" height="36" width="36"> Public Replays
FlashMeeting Folksonomy - replays of FlashMeetings that can be viewed by the public.

A group of Web 2.0 teachers used it on Wednesday evening (UK) - 5am Thursday morning for Jason Hando in Sydney Australia!!!! for an informal discussion on Web 2.0 tools in education, and also, more importantly ways in which Flashmeeting could be used for school based video conferencing and online Professional Development.

The meeting was set up to show teachers how to use the technology and Ddraig-goch would like to thank the following teachers who gave up 2 hours of their time to join in.

Joe Dale (8pm UK)

Lisa Durff (3pm USA)

Jane Nicholls (7am New Zealand)

Jason Hando (5am Australia)

Kristin Hokanson (3pm? USA)

I know from e-mail that Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach was hoping to attend as was Rachel Boyd. Maybe we will try it out again to help others into the possibilities of using Flashmeeting - who knows!

There were some interesting stats generated which are quite illuminating if a bit embarrassing, the person who spoke the most!!! ( I wonder who?)

and the person who was text chatting most ( I wonder who?)

Welcome to PodCampUK

PodCampUK is a FREE two-day event bringing all the excitement and ideas and energy of a PodCamp to the UK for the first time. This unique event promises to be a brilliant mix of ideas, LIVE music, FREE food, great people and much more...

September 1/2 2007 - Birmingham NTI
Sign-up NOW! It's only six weeks away...

PodCamps are meetups for anyone interested in New Media. The first PodCamp was held in Boston, Massachusetts, in 2006, and they are now spreading across the globe, enabling culture, commerce and connections.
The "Pod" in PodCamp comes from podcasting; but you can expect to find anyone at PodCamp, podcasters, video makers, software developers, entrepreneurs, journalists, musicians, social networkers, marketers, producers, publishers, PR firms, educators, actors, writers, boys, broadcasters, girls and Web 2.0 gurus, all using the internet to communicate with shared media.

Some are beginners, some are experts, but all are enthused by what they are doing, redefining the old media landscape and defining a brand new culture.

Podcamp UK is a free event, an open door on new media, organised by volunteers who have all experienced Podcamps elsewhere in the world. To pay for the venue for two days with food for all attendees, we now have sponsorship from UK businesses Cheeze, Podcast Nation, and Digital Central. Nick Saalfeld from Wells Park has very kindly offered to pick up the refreshments & Jeff Pulver has put a tab behind the bar for the Saturday night social.

This is a FIRST - media coverage is bound to increase as we draw nearer to the first weekend in September. Please contact us if you are interested in joining our sponsors, and helping to make Podcamp UK a truly special event.

Thanks to Joe Dale for his blog and for the information on PodcampUK!
Flashmeeting Practice Session

** Eventually getting my head around 24 hour time and Time Zones,(I hope!!) I have a Flashmeeting booked for 8pm UK time (GMT+1 20.00hrs), we have friends from Australia, New Zealand, the US and here in the UK coming together for a chat. The meeting is booked for 12 people max, so if you are free and want to come along follow the link below :)

This booking is for 12 people to use the application FlashMeeting

Go to the following address for full details and to access the event:


A .ics calendar file can be downloaded prior to the meeting from the above


Although guest entry is available into the meeting, attendees who do not already

have an account may wish to create one prior to the meeting so that they can

Sign In to the meeting and have access to all the meetings features etc. A link

to create a Sign In account is available via the meeting web page.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Second Life gains its voice!

Many people may be aware of my scepticism over Second Life, I feel though I have to try it out in order to be able to make a comment on it. I still have issues over using avatars and alternative names ( I am aware that your First Life details are available in your Profile).

I have recently been pleasantly surprised to find meeting in Second Life useful ( a meeting on the roof of the Bloggers Cafe with Jane Nicholls and Allanah King amongst others)

I have met some extremely helpful people within Second Life, one in particular who took time to show me how to build in a sandbox ( a surprisingly therapeutic experience, a bit like taking you back to playing with Lego!).
Another problem that I have/had with SL is the whole typing IM thing, it strikes me as backward technology to be typing in a virtual 3d world ( a bit 20th Century !!!). However on a visit to a building near the DEN space on Eduisland last night I came upon a meditation group who invited me in.

Listening to the group discussion I quickly picked up that they were trying out voice communication from with SL ( not using Skype in addition to SL).

They were very helpful as a group and sent me off to the Second Life website, in particular to the download area ( bottom left on the main page) and from there to the First Look download.

Once you have downloaded the software ( it took about 15 minutes using broadband ) you open SL using the new SL First Look Application (Mac), not your original SL one. Once in SL you go to Preferences ( File menu) and there select the audio set up you want to use. Once you have done this you will soon be able to tell whether you are in a currently voice activated area as a white dot appears above your avatar. You press down a mouse button to talk ( rather like using YAK - walky talky style) - you can also check out at SL which areas have been voice activated.

This development is one which certainly goes a long way to ending my 'problems' with Second Life, as I can now see the possibility of holding meetings in real time from within Second Life, where contributors can hear the presentation and also ask questions directly ( without the need to type and read a screen at the same time. I understand from discussions yesterday that the SL developers plan to roll out voice activated areas over the next few weeks and months. Now perhaps we will see the true potential of Second Life for the Education Community (almost convinced).

With Thanks to Roger Distill ( The Grumpy Old Teacher Blog )

Roger has been reflecting on some of the programs and tools that he has found really useful this year - the one that I had a look at and found instantly a site that I plan to make good use of next year in the E2BN Myths and Legends site, which you can see as a Skitch page grab below. It looks ideal for us to use as an end in itself for creative story writing, but has more potential as the first stage/storyboard for film or animation work - thanks for the information Roger :). Do take a look at the rest of the list (link above), there is some good stuff there particularly for High School/Key Stage 3/4 teachers and students.

Now this is funny - Teletubbies go Hip Hop and 'Walk it Out!'

Thanks to Christian Long for a bit of a lead to this one :) http://thinklab.typepad.com/

Enjoy - well it is the Summer Break !!!!!

p.s. I love this shot from Christain's blog of a group of all I can say looks like 'The Usual Suspects' !!!

Who are these guys ??( answers to the blog police!!!) By the way one of them has the look of the naughty schoolboy about him ( I wonder who that could possibly be :) ? ).

Monday, July 23, 2007

Another cool tool - thanks to Sharon Peters over at twitter for her tweet that I picked up at 1.35am ( the web never sleeps!!!) Jing which is a tools which will work on PC or Mac and can be used as a screen capture (like Skitch) - but also interestingly as a videon capture device (up to 5 minutes of video).

Thanks to Sharon for sharing this resource.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

The British Summer continues ( is it really July?)

No sign of a hosepipe ban in Britain this summer as you can see from the AOL News!

You thought you could do maths...... well think again

This humerous maths video come via Rachel Boyd from New Zealand, courtesy of Greg Carroll, a school principal also from New Zealand .... thanks and enjoy (I dare you not to chuckle !!!)

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Funny....... :)

Thanks to Paul Wilkinson at 24 Learning for finding this..........

Early Reflections on a brilliantly hectic year at Cefn Fforest Primary School

Wow, what a brilliant, but exhausting year we have had using creative ITC in my school this year! I don't know if I would like to (or could) go through another year of personal and school growth like that, particularly as it was largely unplanned.

In May or June of 2006 I found an article in the now sadly defunct TES Online Magazine, which mentioned schools writing online articles at a site called Making The News a site run by the East of England Broadband Network and the Open University.I decided very early on in the year, that this was a project that I would like to run with our Year 6 pupils - there is, as always a BUT! We in Wales suffer often from a syndrome called 'only available for schools in England!' , when I first arrived at the MTN site, there was no category for Wales (my heart sank) - so I fired off an e-mail to Jeff Howson, pleading for permission to join in MTN, luckily Jeff was very positive and set us up a 'Wales tab' and told me that he would be only too happy for us to join in. Since then NGFL Cymru have taken MTN under their umbrella and there are now quite a few registered Welsh schools which is great to see, we hope to develop this further next year (a plan!!!)
I then had to make a decision of who, and when in school!!!! I don't teach Year 6 but decided to offer it to them as a lunch club ( in reality 25-30 mins of intense news writing)

Over the year as you can see we have been posting regularly and have posted over 250 stories throughout the year, having had these stories read by up to 5,000 people ( not all us!!!).
The stories have varied from the silly !!! to the serious - as in the example below where the attached video is handled so well by children who were at the time only 10 or 11 years old.

This shows the power of Web 2.0 style sites which now enable our pupils to have an audience for their writing and creative work far beyond the walls of the school.We were lucky enough to win the MTN Competition for Best Overseas News Story (under14) and the team who wrote it where invited up to BETT in January 2007 to receive their prize from Warwick Davies (Prof Flitwick in the Harry Potter films), which was very exciting (first Welsh school to compete and win !!!)The group have remained committed to their task through the year, they didn't drift off to football and sun bathing as the good weather arrived - I can hand on heart say that I have only had a hand-full of lunchtimes sat in our staffroom ( I usually eat my lunch on the move between my classroom and our IT suite ( across the corridor) supervising writers and film makers. I don't really regret it, because to see the creativity of these kids has been a real eye opener for me and also other members of staff ( it also means that Creative ICT is gradually taking up a larger slice of our Year 6 end of year Awards Presentations -we had categories for Podcasting, Online News Making and Film Making this year!)

Blogging has been a big part of Class 3H culture this year, we run a Blogger Blog which is for collaborative writing and showcasing our class activities,

We have also mad great use of David Warlick's Landmarks Classblogmeister
This is our Classblogmeister page which has enabled us to link with other schools around the world (blogroll on the left). Classblogmeister is a 'walled garden' where all posts and comments are moderated by myself. We have been using Blogmeister as a personal blogging space since January 2007, previously I tried out Learnerblogs (Wordpress), but my pupils prefer blogmeister.
More reflections on the educational benefits and plans for next year to come.......

Friday, July 20, 2007

The Fun you can have with a Soft Toy !!!!!

We have had an a marvellous and ongoing link with Allanah King's, Moturoa Class at Appleby School, near Nelson in New Zealand, as you may know. We sent them Tiny Ted (now in the USA in Alabama) and Travelling Ted ( still with the class on some adventures).
Back in November 2006, we recieved a parcel from New Zealand containing Cuddly Kiwi who sings like a Kiwi when squeezed ( well, he did his song is getting a bit weak now, due to all of the love and attention he has had!)
This video is just a snippet of some of the things that Cuddly Kiwi has got up to so far in Wales ( in the video watch out for my grandaughter, Joe Dale and Chris Fuller's iRivers at the E-Twinning Conference in Nottingham!!!)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Blogosphere is continuing to develop new 'watering holes' where bloggers can feel 'at home', the latest is Twitter. It has become 'the place' to keep in contact with friends and colleagues around the globe. You communicate via Tweets ( short 140 character messages) which you either use to instigate a conversation or to further a current discussion. As with all other Web 2.0 tools there is a way to 'know' what is going on at Twitter (ask someone), when I at first arrived at my Twitter page I thought 'Great!!!!! a bit like Second Life - I have no contacts here!!!!' , and as usual I couldn't see the point as I wasn't in any discussion at all!!!!! ( is it me???).
However Edublogger friend to the rescue, with the solution - easy add all of her friends to your page (plus add some of their friends) and 'Hey Presto' you suddenly have an interesting group of new friends (Yay) - so to anyone out there looking for a way into Twitter ( use pj23harry's friends list to create your own friendship group.
Twitter has the extra dimension of being able to use mobile phones ( hey we might just have hit upon a use for mobiles in the classroom to promote language skills ( well 140 characters does necessitate brevity!!). You can Tweet and recieve Tweets to your mobile once you set it up - freedom from the computer.
While I personally find keeping up with my Ning Social Netowork can be tedious on occasions - I have to go and find stuff!!!! Twitter as in all good aggregators brings all of my conversations to me - wherever I am (on a mobile phone or computer)..... if you haven't tried it yet - go on give it a whirl - it does become addictive though so beware ;-)
Happy Tweeting

p.s. You can also use Twitter from within Second Life - which I think makes for better communication.
** The latest Podfather CPD Podcasts**
These include the recent 'Web 2.0 Speed Dating Experience' with High School Teachers in New York, Discussions with the NextGen Teachers Group and a conversation with Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach...

Click here to get your own player.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Croeso i'r Gymru - Welcome to Wales

My entry for 21st Century Learning Wiki  ,which is part of a Virtual Speed Dating Session ( web 2.0 style) that Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach is convening on Tuesday 17th July :

Croeso i'r Gymru - Welcome to Wales

A Podcasters Tale! ( with apologies to G. Chaucer)


A brief biography of where I am with Web 2.0 technology and how I came to be here :
I have been a Primary (Elementary) Teacher at my school Cefn Fforest Primary for 19 years having taught right across the age range - from 7 to 11. About 19 months ago I began to see the possibilty of giving my pupils a wider (global) voice, and giving them a 'real' audience as an important thing for me to look into.
I began by downloading probably the most important single piece of software ( freeware ) that I have ever found - Audacity and its MP3 Encoder.
My only problem for about 4 months was that I had no idea how to upload my audio files to the internet, as I didn't understand how the RSS Code for each podcast could be used!!! ( you see a beginner).
I used Audacity myself in the first instance to ensure that I knew how to use it before showing it to pupils ( in retrospect I should probably/ and would if i had to do this again, share this with my pupils earlier.
It wasn't until I stumbled across a number of Podcast hosting sites like Feedburner and Podomatic ( other very good podcast host sites would be Odeo, Jellycast and for video BlipTV and TeacherTube )that it began to dawn on me that this wasn't as difficult as I first thought. In fact uploading a podcast onto Podomatic is basically as easy as a bit of word processing and finding the audio file on your computer and clicking upload.
We were off and running - I began with the notion of creating a Podcast Radioshow Format and indeed our early podcasts were along these lines at Cefn Fforest FM Podcasts. However our podcasting journey has taken us much more into the realm of giving our friends ( link schools around the world ) a window into our small corner of Wales. Fab Podcast Directory is at Recap ( educational podcasts under 5's, 5-11yrs, 11+yrs and College Podcasts)
Some friends that we have met through our podcasting :
Allanah King in Appleby School, Nelson New Zealand
Jane Nicholls Pine Hill School, Dunedin, New Zealand
Kathy Shields Little Voices Kindergarten Podcasts Georgia US
http://mr_h.podomatic.com/ A Storyteller from Texas US

High School Podcasts of note : Chris Fuller's (UK) Spanish Podcast , Joe Dale's French Podcasts (using Voki), Colegio Internacional de Caracas (CIC) Podcasts podcasts( Neudis Abreu on Art )at recap.ltd.uk , Sandia Prep Radio International Podcasts from Albuquerque, New Mexico,
A further source of Educational podcasts across all age ranges is on iTunes Podcast Directory - search Education - K-12.
As a last word there is no way that my pupils would have a readership of their work that they do without our podcasting and class,(978 views) personal blogs (2825 views )- No longer is their work just written for me or their parents - The World reads it as well.

Blogged with Flock

Pippy Ballinger's Adventures in Second Life

On the roof of The Bloggers Cafe (EduislandII)
Having been swift to make legitimate complaints about Second Life, I have spent the past week, trying to come to terms with the alternative world which exists there. I have found that my random entries into the cyber world have been interesting ( I learned how to build in SL for example), they have been ultimately frustrating as I never seem to be able to meet up with anyone in a planned way.
All of that changed last night when on another new place for me - Twitter ( as recommended by friends Jane Nicholls and Sheryl N-B ) - a great place for short pithy comments from a global friendship group ( mainly borrowed from Sheryl! thx). While Tweeting ( I think the correct term), I found out that Jojash Mcmillan (Jane) was around in Second life and that Scrumples Schneider was looking to come in - we tweeted about meeting at the Bloggers Cafe in SL (On Eduisland II just around the corner from the ISTE Building!!! sadly I know these things now!)
Inside the Bloggers Cafe
As you can see above we settled onto the roof area for a face to face chat ( even though we were 11,000 miles away from each other), also there IsabellaG Despres from Chicago. Now the chance to chat possibly even of using skype while in SL to have almost fully interactive discussions is a use that I see Second Life doing for me - could be great for say Next Gen Teachers meetings ( Naace are using it in the Naace Lounge in Huining) also for future K12 online 'Fireside Chats' around a SL fireside perhaps!!! the possibilities are endless.
Pippy Ballinger reporting for Ddraig-goch from Second Life!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

** Gizmo**

Gizmo – A free phone for your computer
Uploaded with Skitch!
There is competition for Skype in VOIP, Gizmo, not to be confused with Gizmoz the talking avatar tool ( very cool) offers many of the same goodies as Skype if you read the blurb from their site below:

"Gizmo Project is an internet telephone, that is as simple as instant messaging

Make all of your calls from the comfort of your desktop, with Gizmo Project it is point, click, talk. For FREE

Why use Gizmo?
It’s FREE!
FREE call's to any Gizmo Project, Yahoo! Messenger, Google Talk, or Windows Live user
Chat with AIM and MSN buddies
Free Voicemail and Conference calling.
Super clear call quality
Inexpensive add-ons that let you make and receive calls from any mobile phone or landline."
From Gizmo website

This is the Gizmo online interface

I was introduced to Gizmo by Sheryl Nussbaum Beach, as she intends using Gizmo for an Internet 'Speed Dating' style presentation on Tuesday evening. Sheryl has gathered together 10 Education users of Web 2.0 tools from around the globe ( including myself). The format will be that the teachers involved ( mostly Secondary School teachers), will be receiving information from Sheryl and others as CPD, there will be a room with 10 computers in each Gizmo'd up to one of us!!! We will then have the chance to talk with the teachers on the course about the tools that we/they can use and perhaps more importantly why they should use them. They will have the opportunity to ask us about the use of this technology and its relevance to learning ( we have 15 minutes then a bell will go off and they will move on). This use of 'talking heads' in training is a development of our recent use of skyping friends into training seminars, which we have been using for some time. It sounds cool - however I expect a pretty intense hour or so of discussions. There is a wiki which Sheryl has set up enabling each of the 10 'presenters' to put in links and urls to illustrate our points... look out for a report and podcast/s later this week (Gizmo has inbuilt conversation record facility)
I tried out Gizmo this evening in a quick chat with Allanah King in New Zealand, it appears very clear, with less of a time lag than Skype, the sounds are easier on the ear- one negative from my point of view as far as I can see is, no video conferencing facility.... Download Gizmo and let me know how you get on.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Screenshot taken and edited entirely in Skitch ........ cool I like this toy :) - don't forget I have 2 invites to give away ....
p.s. sorry about my slightly untidy desktop ( It's a bit like the real world desktop!!)

Thank you to Darren Kiropatwa and Rachel Boyd for their comments - they have snapped up my 2 invites ( this of course means that Darren and Rachel will also have invites so keep an eye on their blogs!)

There was a flurry of activity over at Ewan's blog the other day as members of the blogosphere tried to get their hands on free invitation to Skitch. As you can see below Skitch offers a whole range of options for not only working with your saved photo's, (in flickr or other places) and adding various effects and finishes to them. But for me the best part of the software so far is the excellent - quick and easy screen capture, in addition to the very user friendly drag and drop aspect of working with your digital images.

I found that by the time I had got to Ewan, many others had been there before me, however I had read a post about Skitch on Allanah King's blog, so I tried the route of 'phoning a friend' ( well Skyping a friend actually!!), nothing ventured, nothing gained. It was almost as if we were working without the blogosphere - as Allanah had very kindly sent me an invitation to Skitch ( thanks Allanah - what friends there are here in the blogosphere!)
I thought that I would dedicate this evening to giving it a go, and having a 'Twitter' about it later...
Above is my desktop captured and posted very quickly (in around 2 minutes - capture to post)... sadly for many Skitch will only run on Mac at present, watch this space for developments - thanks to Ewan and Allanah for information on this program :)
By the way I now have 2 invites to give out for Skitch (yay!) so if you want to give it a try (mac) let me know your e-mail address...

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

** A Date for Your Diaries**

Saturday 13th October The Isle Of Wight Conference 2007

Joe is also floating the idea of having a TeachMeet style get together somewhere (tba) on the Friday evening (12th) prior to the main event. A get together like this is long overdue outside Scotland ( where Ewan has been running these prior or during SETT for a while now). This would be a fantastic opportunity for Face2Face networking almost for the first time in England I think ( unless you know of another ??)

Saturday 13th October:with Rachel Hawkes, Leigh McClelland, Chris Fuller, Lesley Welsh and Oscar Stringer.

Here are the proposed sessions so far:

Rachel and Leigh - Rhythm and Song (repeat of ALL London session)
Rachel - Assessment for Learning
Leigh - Digital Video (Maybe an explanation of MovieMaker and
interesting ways you can use DV in MFL)
Chris Fuller - A year as a MFL blogger and podcaster (session 1) and
blogging workshop (session 2)
Joe Dale - Death by PowerPoint? Keep your finger on the trigger
Joe Dale - Podcasting workshop
Joe Dale - Keynote (blogging, podcasting etc)
Oscar Stringer - One Stop Animation
Lesley Welsh - Interactive Whiteboards, ACTIVote and Classroom Performance Performance Systems.

This sounds like a cool event the price tag is £50 for lunch and sandwiches which seems pretty good value. More news on event venue and timings once I have heard from Joe. Thanks for the information Joe...

If you go over to Joe's blog at the moment apart from his latest podcasting news which is fabulous to read, there is also a link to a Flashmeeting that Joe has organised for Tuesday 17th July 8pm -10pm (UK BST- GMT +1).
The main topic will be a sharing of experiences in blogging and podcasting over the past year, I am sure that the chat will be pretty lively if the last Flashmeeting is anything to go by...

Monday, July 09, 2007

** HeyJude**

Many thanks to Judy O'Connell (librarian 2.0) of heyjude fame, she dropped a comment into my nextgen ning message box today. It was part of an ongoing discussion I am involved in as to how valid the term 'digital native' is these days. In my humble opinion it is does not have any validity amongst the people who are driving forward the Web 2.0 agenda globally ( most would have to be considered as 'digital immigrants' - a term which really doesn't fit the bill at all.

But hey, I digress Judy sent me the link to her presentation in May to the CTLA Conference it is a slideshare presentation that Judy has put together to show how the world is changing, I love the way Judy has blended sources to produce this piece. Once you have watched it, do drop Judy a comment on her blog, I am really sure she would appreciate you popping by...

Within Judy's presentation I really liked Shaun White's HP Commercial ( great visuals) - sadly not embeddable but follow the link.
Voki is becoming popular in my class at the moment. Today we used Audacity to record our thoughts on blogging, podcasting and the use of skype. We thought about what using these tools has meant to us as a class this year... I plan to post on our class blog a series of voki, talking heads summing up our year using New Technology tools over the next few weeks as we head for our summer break.

Get a Voki now!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Ddraig-Goch in TES Cymru
Following a recent seminar on podcasting that I gave at the WITS 07 conference at Ty Dysgu, Nantgarw, I had a visit from a TES photographer who took a series of shots including some of my kids podcasting for publication this week. Excuse the quality of the reproduction ( a photograph rather than a scan as the main pc in the house is being used by my daughter!!! ) - scan to folow...
The Advantages of being quite old!!!

There are a few of these :
You have a develop different perspective on work/career. ( I tend to forget initiatives, my memory isn't what it was ( tee hee).
You no longer necessarily strive to be perfect - there are more important things in life!
You try to do all of the things that 'you' want to do!
To have fun!
I don't really care what people think about the way I do things anymore.
Two of these rubrics for being older I indulged on Saturday, with a visit to Cardiff ( with my birthday money), I know that I have encouraged my reputation on the blogosphere of me being careful with my money ! (lol) I will take the cheapest option and don't see the point in "splashing the cash!"

Saturday afternoon as I roamed around what's left of Cardiff City Centre ( they have the builders in - Dr Who obviously needed a lifelike derelict area in the centre of the city, and the City Council have agreed to do it!!!!! really to create St David's Centre II ( watch for St David's Centre III The Movie!). I digress, I was wandering around the city centre thinking of all of the sensible things I could buy with the 'tidy sum' ( must be said in Welsh accent to get best effect). However two of the ageing maxims came into play - get something you want and have fun.... to the Apple Store in the Morgan's Arcade and .....
I found myself asking the assistant for the shiny Black 30GB Video iPod, please, plus the microphone kit for recording to the iPod. It was as easy as that all done in 10 minutes and once home time to see what the iPod could do.
I am very impressed and left saying to myself why, oh why didn't I do this before??
Once plugged into the MacBook the iPod 'synced' itself and then downloaded all of the stuff from my iTunes account music, podcasts and video podcasts ( in about 15 minutes). Having tried it out while babysitting the grandchildren last night, I can see me with the white earphones ( a bit conspicuous) on more often as I catch up with the latest 'stuff' ( really!!!! at my age- But it's FUN!).
It will be interesting to see what the recording quality is like but I am expecting pretty amazing audio from the machine.... we'll see.

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