Shes 5, so a pre-schooler. A friend bought me the ‘pig’, which is a great gadget, she loves it. It amplifies the audio and makes lots of flashing lights and movement as she interacts with the site. I really like that you have to sign up for the site. On the home page, there is plenty of clear, fast loading audio to welcome young learners.
A nice feature is that new ‘eggs’ hatch, so you can see who has joined the site as ‘hatchlings’. So from the off, there is a sense that there are lots of other kids doing it, so it cool. Sarah’s not new to a laptop, a veteran of Barbie Horse games and Dora the ‘annoying’ Explorer. She has no problem in figuring out what needs to be clicked and what needs to be dragged and dropped. Shes also happier using a track pad than a mouse right now. In the mean time, my 7 year old son is getting frustrated by World of Warcraft – it seems he has to ‘read the quests’ if he wants to get further than his level 6 he managed on day one.
I just figured after my last rant, that I should post something positive – a put back. Reading Eggs is of course a free online learning site.
Feedly – Another RSS API – Which I liked. I know Google Reader is the weapon of choice, but this I think is well worth a look. I liked the open clean layout, the tab style feeds and the deep linking. One neat feature lets you preview the blog post in an embedded pop out window, leave your comment and then close – so you don’t have to leave the page. I use Flock browser, and Feedly’s API installed right onto the tool bar.
Posting comments to student work today, I spend less time than I normally do – so there’s the benefit (to me). I still like Bloglines and have been wavering between Google and Bloglines … maybe Feedly will sway me. Yet another recommendation from an NECC conversation!
Well it is time that the school got a new website – of course hooked into a blog – so we need a new home page. Here’s a quick video using Screen Flow and Photoshop CS3 to show the build process, speeded up a little. My plan is to a higher quality, wide screen one on the schools website – as the website. With links to our Moodle courseware and a blog. Maybe the last photoshop web design I’ll do? who knows.
Screen flow is excellent on OSX, smoother and easier to edit that iShowYou (which is cheaper). Just record and go, works like iMove (before Apple ruined it in Leopard). Then drop it into Final Cut and add a tune. Lasts about a minute and a half. Made it to show some students how websites are put together by graphic designers.
I am, I may modestly say, a gun at Photoshop, so I am hard to please when it comes to using anything lesser. Avairy is impressive. A collection of online tools to do a massive range of creative things. Check out some of the links … I must be slow, there are plenty of time-lapse and other examples on the site, and on YouTube.
So for those classrooms stuck with Paint or PaintShop Pro (yuk), or lack the budget to buy audio editors or Flash (Adobe own the creative world) … this is a real classroom option. Simple for the slower kids to pick up and useful enough for the top end to extend themselves.