Archive for the ‘Presentation Tools’ Category

I’ve not had a need to make a video before, so I admit to not exploring the machinations of what to use or how to put one together.

But when I needed to make one, which finally happened just a couple of weeks ago, I turned to Movie Maker – mainly because I’d seen what a young person had created using it and my thinking went along the lines of ‘if an 11 year old can do it …. surely I can!!

As it turned out … that was mostly the case!  While a work colleague had told me that Movie Maker was a bit on the clunky side, I thought I’d give it a go.  Running on Windows, I found that it was fairly intuitive to use ….. and ….. as fate would have it ….. new material to incorporate into my movie kept turning up, so by the third run of creating my movie, I kind of felt like a pro!!

Then someone sent me a link to a post about CharlisCraftyKitchen which appeared more than a year ago on Business Insider Australia.  Reading how two very young kids are sharing their passion for cooking and baking tips is impressive enough on its own.  Learning that these young kids are generating a small fortune, falls into the mind blowing category!

According to Outrigger’s estimates, Charli’s channel generates an average of $US127,777 in ad revenue per month. That’s taking into account YouTube’s cut of revenue. The channel gets an average of 29 million views each month — in March, it had 29,133,270.

Now aged nine and eight, Charli & Ashlee exude confidence as they talk to the screen selling their talents!  With not hundreds, nor thousands, but millions of hits, it’s worth taking a moment to check out CharlisCraftyKitchen site and while your at it, watch a video or two!


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It’s hard to believe that Pindex hasn’t been developed before now because when you stop and think about it, the idea has almost always been out there.

Launched just a month ago, its premise is simple and its design is very appealing.  Its four person team aims to curate educational videos and infographics for teachers and students.

In short it’s a pinboard for learning or looking at it another way …..  a Pinterest for Educators.

More information can be extracted from the Pindex website:

Pindex is a pinboard to collect and discover the best educational material. It’s not just for teachers and students. Anyone can create boards to share their passion and enjoy the adventure of learning.

Take a look at this video which gives a glimpse of what’s available on Pindex

or explore a guide to Pindex to figure out how best this new resource can be used in your school or shared as a resource through your library.

Be quick to request an invite.  I’m anxiously awaiting mine so that I can have a more in depth peek at this fabulous new resource!

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It’s hard to believe it, but the artist who created these animated gifs, George Redhawk, is legally blind.

Redhawk, also known as DarkAngelØne,  suffers from the rare condition of Charles Bonnet Syndrome, a condition in which visually impaired people see things that are not really there.

His mesmerising animated gifs are aesthetically beautiful, yet amazingly complex.  It’s hard to imagine how long it must take to create one, let alone the painstakingly complex process their creation must involve.

On his Google+ website, Redhawk gives permission to copy and paste his animations, but requests that credit be given to him for his creative work.

While I came upon his work on a recent My Modern Met post, an online check reveals that many have written about this talented artist.  A glance through his Google+ website reveals a little more of the man behind this astounding work.

Animated Gif - Woman of the Sea - by George Redhawk

Animated Gif - Stairway to Heaven - by George Redhaw

Animated Gif - I am Man - by George Redhawk

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Love those cool pictures that talented barristers etch onto the top of your coffee?

Well ….. this art has been taken to a new dimension by Ripple Maker who have developed a coffee printing device which, with just the tap of a button, creates personalized greetings or pictures.

Pretty cool – no?!

And if that isn’t exciting enough, the Ripples iPhone app enables anyone to create an image in just a few seconds which can be printed onto the top of a coffee!  The Ripple Maker is part of a platform made up of your machine, the website and a mobile app.  The app, pre-loaded with a library of ripples categorized into themes, greetings, quotes and more, can even be customized.

Check it out:

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There’s every chance that you are one of the nearly 10 million people who’ve already seen this video since it was posted online just three weeks ago on April 30th 2015, but on the slim chance that you haven’t, here it is.

Like me though, if you have already seen it, you’ll be happy to take a few minutes out of the day and watch it again!

The incredible applications that 3D printing continues to bring to our lives and to our world are ones that few of us could  have ever imagined!

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A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about my disappointment with colleagues who shied away from participating in a TodaysMeet backchannel room created by the presenter at a conference I attended.

And then just a few days later, I came across an article which came up with 2o useful ways to use TodaysMeet in schools which has some really great ideas.

TodaysMeet is an awesome, easy to use tool!TodaysMeet

Go to the website, create a name for your room (no spaces or punctuation) and select how long you want the room to be kept online – an hour, a day, a week, a month or a year – then open the room.  Reassure students/staff that at the end of this time, the posts entered and the entire room disappears from the web – it cannot be revisited or relocated.  Remind  participants (veterans of newbies) that they can write no more than 140 characters.  Decide in advance if participants are to put their own names/initials or whether they can be anonymous.  Remember to tell them of your requirement.  Share the TodaysMeet room address with participants – and away you go!!

That’s all there is to it.  Pretty simple!

Keen to give it a go one day, I thought I’d think out loud and consider how some of the ideas suggested in this article could be applied in either my school library or among staff at a staff meeting.   So here goes:

Using TodaysMeet in a School Library:

  1. Have a conversation: Having students share their thoughts about books read is one of the regular activities that occur in library sessions.  Having them record their thoughts about a book read and then having others who have read the same book share their thoughts, may be a different way of approaching this well spun activity.  With multiple participants being able to participate at the one time, increased participation by more students, particularly the shy ones, would be possible.
  2. Share links: Students could be asked to locate a range of different links to share with each other:  book reviews; author and publisher pages, fandoms, book vlogs, graphics, book covers and more to create a sharpened focus and awareness.  Allowing students time to explore these links could be part and parcel of the session.
  3. Ask questions: Encouraging students to write questions about information and/or opinions being shared orally by one or more students is a great way to develop analytical skills.
  4. Give examples: Inspiring students to read widely is often achieved by the teacher librarian spruiking books they have read.  By having students respond in writing about how the book’s context or story relates to them can be a powerful way of creating a connection and boosting interest. This kind of activity allows greater participation than the traditional classroom approach of ‘talk/share in a circle’.
  5. Create rotating stories: Have each student add a sentence to an ongoing story.  Check the increasing interest level as the story progresses around the room.  If the class is large – break it up into two or more groups to allow for increased active participation.
  6. Hold online office hours: Circulate the url of a TodaysMeet room and post ‘office hours’ which can be used by students to seek assistance, ask questions, share information or just clarify uncertainties.  Don’t forget to also give a start date and an end date of the availability of the room.
  7. Connect with other classrooms: An online forum enables a conversation to move beyond the four walls of a classroom.   Line up classes in other schools both locally and globally and have them participate in a conversation about a set topic.
  8. Connect with experts: Contact the author of a popular book and see whether they will agree to make themselves available to join the TodaysMeet at a certain hour/day, then just sit back and watch the conversation flow!
  9. Host a contest: Competitions with immediate rewards are a great way to ensure involvement.  The sky is the limit on this kind of activity!  Instructing students to enter their response onto TodaysMeet after the count of three is bound to be a winner!
  10. Facilitate group projects: Students tackling a group project could use a chat room created in TodaysMeet as the place to share links, resources, interesting articles, graphics, videos and ideas.  Instructed by the teacher in advance that the recorded conversation would be an assessable part of the completed project would inject inspiration for all members of the group to participate.

Using TodaysMeet at a Staff Meeting:

  1. Have a conversation: Give teachers a real life opportunity to become familiar with the value of engaging in backchannel conversation during a workshop or conference presentations by creating a TodaysMeet room at either a staff meeting of for sessions held in an onsite Curriculum Day. Learning by doing is as powerful for teachers as it is for our students!
  2. Share links: So often when we attend staff presentations, mention is made by the presenter of different tools, websites and links.  Sometimes details of where to find more information is given by the presenter, but often it is not.  TodaysMeet allows teachers present to immediately share their knowledge with other teachers attending.  At the end of the presentation, a valuable record of notes, thoughts, ideas and links shared can be copied and kept for later review by participants.
  3. Ask questions: Being able to pose questions on the spot and have other participants respond is a great way to question without interrupting the thread of the presenter.  If style of presentation involves a group activity or discussion, the presenter can read through the TodaysMeet chat and respond to specific questions when the presentation resumes.
  4. Give examples: For those sessions requiring participants to reflect on a situation created/described by the presenter, TodaysMeet offers a great way to record thoughts and examples given.  Often ideas given by one can trigger the thoughts of another.  Ideas teased out in this way can leave the group with a valuable set of notes on which they can individually reflect.
  5. Take a poll: Some school issues need a quick resolution. Being able to see opinion of all staff on a couple of choices given is valuable.  If desired anonymity can be introduced.
  6. Discuss an event: There seem to be a never ending range of issues that arise in staff meetings.  From procedure to practice, the opinions of staff are often heatedly shared. What better way to ensure that everyone has their say than to have them jot their thoughts in a 140 character statement!  Discussion of school events, the logistics and concerns of the event can also be discussed and shared in this space.
  7. Hold online office hours: Being able to discuss or give feedback about a burning issue can easily be put in place on TodaysMeet by having teachers anonymously enter their comments.  Posting comments in a respectful manner goes without saying.  Lending some ‘punch’ to the comments posted could be achieved by having the focus topic created and posted by the Principal or others from the school’s administration.
  8. Connect with experts: Inviting a local or global expert on a certain topic would give teachers a real feel of the power of a virtual classroom.  Use Twitter to locate the volunteer expert.  It may come as a surprise how willing world experts can be!
  9. Create a club/team communications site:  A TodaysMeet room can be created for a day, a week, a month or a year.   Use it as a place to publicize subject or campus meetings.  Use it to connect with parents about the upcoming swimming carnival.  Use it to post updates on time, venue, provisions or just anything that relates to the event.  And as suggested in the article that has inspired this blog post this approach could “Save yourself tons of phone calls or text messages if everyone checks the group TodaysMeet site.”
  10. Have asynchronous staff/committee meetings: TodaysMeet can break down the need for a set staff meeting at a given time on a specific day of the week.  A virtual space liberates teachers, allowing them to participate in a discussion about a specific topic over a set period of time – a day or a week.

TodaysMeet is a vibrant and versatile tool which can be used in both the classroom and the staffroom.  By actively engaging with the tool, students and teachers alike will develop improved skills engaging online and in the process will gain confidence in both using the tool and in themselves.

Let me know how you are using this tool in your school.

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I blogged about Thomas Suarez back in November 2011 – Take the plunge and learn from our students! There’s heaps to be gained!! – not long after he presented a very impressive TEDx Talk in which he mounted a rather convincing case that students had much to teach educators.

So when I was doing a bit of reading about about the application and development of 3D printers recently, I was impressed to learn that Thomas Suarez has shifted his focus from the development of apps, which was his passion back in 2011, to that of 3D printers.  Never shy to take on a challenge, an article in Inhabitat – A 15-Year-Old is Developing a 3D Printer That’s 10 Times Faster Than Anything on the Market! (July 2014) – details how Suarez is now aiming to develop a 3D printer which is 10 times faster than current 3D printers!

A pretty impressive promo can be seen on Soarez’ company website CarrotCorp where details about the ORB 3D Printer are shared.  If you’re impatient to see more details which will no doubt be revealed in the crowdfunding video soon to be released, have a look at this short promo which was launched last July:

Although I cannot comment on the veracity of these claims or the details mentioned by Soarez in his search to revolutionize this technology, I’m very impressed by the many groundbreaking applications of 3D printers.

Reading about the good that comes of this technology is nothing short of inspirational!

Enabling The Future is a global network of passionate volunteers using 3D printing to help others.  The help given is very tangible: volunteers worldwide who have 3D printers volunteer their time to use their machines to help print and assemble free 3D printed prosthetic devices for those in need.  Begun in 2013, this community consisted of about 300 people who owned 3D printers or who had design skills to share.  A year and a half later, this community has grown to over 1000 recipients and 3000 registered volunteers who span the world.  It is inspring to read on their webpage that:

We have over 30 middle and high schools who are currently printing hands for recipients and groups of students and scout troops who are spending their weekends building hands for children they will never meet.”

It’s impossible to see this video and not be moved to action:

Encouraging students in Australian schools to participate in this initiative would be awesome!

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