Archive for February, 2009

New Zealand's new Copyright Law presumes 'Guilt Upon Accusation' and will Cut Off Internet Connections without a trial. Join the black out protest against it!

Its not Unix, but…

Posted: February 27, 2009 in Just For Fun

Here is my own 123456… 😉

img_6895

picture-11

http1The following are some new and old online sites that you may find useful as educational resources and fun instructional tools. I have included links to each site, a brief description, and information quoted from each site. I have known about many of these and learned about a few at an Educational Service Unit (ESU) meeting I attended in Ogallala, Nebraska.

Lesson Plans, Resources, and SO MUCH MORE!!!

Thinkfinity http://www.thinkfinity.org/

Remember the Marco Polo site? Thinkfinity is Marco Polo in its new incarnation.

“Thinkfinity.org makes it easy for educators to enhance their classroom instruction with lesson plans, interactive activities and other online resources. Thinkfinity.org also provides a wealth of educational and literacy resources for students, parents and after-school programs.

All of Thinkfinity.org’s 55,000 standards-based K-12 lesson plans, student materials, interactive tools and reference materials are reviewed by the nation’s leading education organizations to ensure that content is accurate, up-to-date, unbiased and appropriate for students.

At Thinkfinity.org, you’ll find primary source materials, interactive student resources and grade-specific research lists to help you tailor materials to meet your needs. Start exploring now!”

Web Tools

Tiny URL http://tinyurl.com/

Have a long web address/url/or web site “number” as VP Biden calls it ;-)? Tiny URL can assist in creating a much shorter url for you to use or remember.

“Are you sick of posting URLs in emails only to have it break when sent causing the recipient to have to cut and paste it back together? Then you’ve come to the right place. By entering in a URL in the text field below, we will create a tiny URL that will not break in email postings and never expires.”

Web 2.0 Sites

Glogster http://www.glogster.com/

This site has some possibilities and there is an education version: http://www.glogster.com/edu/

I envision students using this to create posters, collages, etc. for various classroom projects.

“Mix graphics, photos, videos, music and text into slick Glogs. Glog yourself every day!

Amaze your friends – send others links to your Glogs.

Pimp your profile! – share your creations on Myspace, Facebook, Hi5, Friendster, Bebo or wherever you want…

Find new friends by their style

Have fun browsing Glogs, comment on other people’s Glogs and get inspiration”

MorgueFile http://www.morguefile.com/

This is a place to free photos and there is also a classroom section where you can learn the basics of photography.

“Morguefile, where photo reference lives. This morgue file contains free high resolution digital stock photographs and reference images for either corporate or public use. The purpose of this site is to provide free image reference material for illustrators, comic book artist, designers, teachers and all creative pursuits.”

Gigapan http://www.gigapan.org/index.php

See the “Gigapan” from the Nebraska vs. CU game (For my fellow Nebraskans, click the following link and zoom in to find yourself if you were there!): http://tinyurl.com/88ao9d

“GigaPan consists of three technological developments: a robotic camera mount for capturing very high-resolution (gigapixel and up) panoramic images using a standard digital camera; custom software for constructing very high-resolution gigapixel panoramas; and, a new type of website for exploring, sharing and commenting on gigapixel panoramas and the detail our users will discover within them. The GigaPan website allows hosting and sharing all kinds of panoramas, and so the robotic GigaPan mount is recommended but is certainly not required to be part of this community.”

Picnik http://www.picnik.com/

Online photo editing and more.

Picnik makes your photos fabulous with easy to use yet powerful editing tools. Tweak to your heart’s content, then get creative with oodles of effects, fonts, shapes, and frames. It’s fast, easy, and fun.”

BeFunky http://www.befunky.com/

Create artwork with your photos.

“BeFunky Photo Effects allow everyday people to easily create photographically rich and artistic results from their digital images without the need for any technical knowledge. These “one-click” photo effect options produce desired results effortlessly and each effect comes with the option to make simple adjustments.”

Apple creates superior software, and this has been reaffirmed with the new copy of iLife ’09 that I recently installed.  iPhoto has been my first endeavor with the software, and this evening I created a slide show using photos from our fishing adventures this past Saturday.  I am yet to find any software on the Windows or Linux side of things that even come close to the crisp, sleek, and semi-professional projects one can produce with iLife products in a few simple clicks.  The following video is my first slide show produced with iLife ’09’s iPhoto. Enjoy!

Gaming Presentation

Posted: February 17, 2009 in Gaming

The following is a link to a gaming presentation.  It is in Shockwave Flash format and is a huge file (over 90 MB).  The link is for my gaming workshop students but all are free to view if you are so inclined

Gaming Presentation

Snow Day…

Posted: February 13, 2009 in Education, Just For Fun, Learning, Movie, Parenting, Service, Video

We learned some important lessons today as we provided service and shoveled our neighbors snow, played Rise of Nations, fixed up and prepared a small 2 cycle engine in a snowmobile, and of course extreme collaboration (see video):

Learning 24/7!!!

g5There are times in life when you realize time has passed you by.  This does not become apparent until you reach an age where you realize your favorite music is now part of the “classics” channel on the radio.  As human beings we sometimes get caught in time and don’t realize, because of the day to day grind, that things have changed or are changing before our very eyes and we somehow miss it.

I have had discussions lately about the “new” Macintosh G5.  Yes, I said the new G5!  Somewhere, somehow, someone missed something.  In 2005, Macintosh began the shift away from the PowerPC processor to the Intel chip.  You can run Windows on a Mac.  I know most who visit here will know this, but I want you to know that some do not, and it is a shocking moment for these people to realize that, just like hearing Jump by Van Halen on the classics station for the first time, some important things happened as time marched on.

My purpose in this post is not to cast blame, figure out why this happens, to make fun of anyone, or to cry out to the developed world to pay closer attention.  I also am not posting to start a debate over Mac versus PC or the virtues of legacy equipment.  I am, however, here to say that what once was great, isn’t anymore.  If you are waiting for G5’s to make it to your classroom, you are too late.  Nevertheless, you are not too late for AMDs, Intel Core Duos or even Atom processors in tiny little laptops (they are called netbooks).  If you want a new PowerPC processor you can get one in an Xbox 360!

Change is constant, and we can hope to get the last drop of use out of an iMac, or IBM ThinkPad.  I’m all for that, and for being cost conscious, but there comes a time when the cost of maintenance and repair is not cost effective. I type this, mind you, on a PowerBook G3 Lombard from the 20th century, but I can maintain this at my own cost and not at the cost to the taxpayer.  When new is cheaper, faster, and better it is best, and that is what we are looking for:  what is best for students.

I know the G5 was great, shoot I had an awesome IBM AT with a 286 processor.  It found its way to computer heaven just a year and a half ago!  I read LowEndMac everyday, and I think my PowerBook G4 first generation 400 MHz laptop was the best ever, but I refuse to put one in the hands of today’s students.  They deserve the best not what was once the best.

Some things get better with age.  Cheese, Van Halen (I think so), and they say wine.  Digital devices do not get better with age:  they can’t.  As devices get faster, smaller, more portable, and cheaper it makes sense that we move on wisely.  Granted we should get all the life that we reasonably can out of digital devices and plan for the future.  That is the responsible thing to do.

If anyone wants to discuss the G5 I am there for you, but we will discuss its merits in a time that has passed.  As we visit hopefully we will be listening to “Where Have All the Good Times Gone?” from Van Halen’s Diver Down album, but we’ll listen to it as an mp3 on an iPod Touch.

Several netbooks (ASUS Eee PC 904HA) have entered some of the classrooms in our district.  I mentioned this particular make and model earlier as I treated myself to one of these small wonders for my birthday in November. It is a nice little machine and can hold its own for many projects that students can be doing.  The key words in my previous statement are “that students can be doing.”  With these tools in teacher’s and student’s hands they should be doing.  We can’t wait forever to get what we think we need to educate students because forever never comes and time and resources are wasted.  In 1997 I had one computer in my classroom and a school wide, shared, dial up Internet connection.  I didn’t wait for a lab of computers in my classroom.  I didn’t think about what I could do if I had the right equipment, I just did with what I had.  I really, honestly did!  

Waiting for something to happen is a terrible thing, and I hope that if any educator reads this and you have been waiting, please STOP!  That is your first step in doing! You cannot wait.  There has to be something that you can do and someone if you need help to get started or restarted.  There are many like myself that are willing to help you; so, please let us help you help the students.  I have five young souls in my home that walk the halls of public schools each day.  They ALL want you to help them, to teach them, to utilize tools that they are familiar with.  They have technology in their hands whenever they need it at home, and they expect you to utilize it at school.  Many of their teachers do, but these students can do so much more.  Even little Heather, a kindergartner, is ready more that many will ever know if she never gets the chance to share what she can do and create at home using technology.  I’m glad there are some netbooks in a couple of schools now (there needs to be more portable, digital devices and that shall come to pass) but how sad will be the day if these devices aren’t in young hands. Please put them there and let them show you what they know.  They can!

picture-2Life is learning and I have been gaming in my life since 1965!  Sure, some of my first games utilized low tech items, but hey, I’m a gamer.  Later in life the Sears catalog had an awesome “Electronic Football Game” that I saved up for and purchased on my next trip to a Sears located over 200 miles away.  Pong, the Atari 2600, so on and so forth, fell into my hands at my home or at my friend’s homes.  We gamed, we played, we had fun, and we learned. In the early 80s, while in high school, we got computers in the building and sure enough found games.  So why is gaming such a pariah in education?  There are games:  addition, subtraction, spelling, multiple choice type games that are deemed acceptable in the sense that they are the extension of the worksheet (my words, my belief).  Digital games are so rich today.  They were rich way back when, but for some reason we can’t seem to stomach the fact that our kids are gaming and learning so much more in those games than they often do in school.  I have spent the past few weeks going through the professional development for Quest Atlantis, and this Thursday I will get my “class.”  I am ready to game like never before at school, with students, every chance I get. What about reading?  We will do it.  What about writing?  We will do it. What about arithmetic?  We will do it.  We will do it in games.  Come along for the ride, and build the research while you play.  The students want to and so should you!

The following link will take you to some games I have been playing with students this school year, and with my own kids before that!

Gaming Research (Yes, there is so much more!!!)

UPDATE:  The following article lists several of the games that I remember when I had more time to get my game on ;-):  GameSpy PC The Greatest PC Games of All Time: The ’80s.  The choices have only become better!

2 Year Blog Anniversary!

Posted: February 8, 2009 in blog, blogging, Blogs, Thanks

2nd-anniversaryIt slipped by without much fanfare, but my H I T blog has been on the web for over two years now.  It is 390 posts strong, or weak ;-), and serves as a great resource for me.  I want to thank Jeff VanDrimmelen at Edutechie.com for being the first to contact me when I first started, to offer advice, and to be the first to comment at my blog.  This has been a mostly personal experience, but there seem to be a few that have found tid bits along the way that have been useful.  As with anything in life, this blog gets attention in between busy days spent raising my family, working with wonderful teachers, students, and staff, church, boy scouts, and the occasional leisure time.  Thanks to all that wander this way, and special thanks for your comments.  Peace be unto you all!!!

As with anything to do with exercise you have to do it!

The Truth About Wii Fit And Weight Loss” Forbes