Lego is a very popular material in any classroom. Online it’s just as popular. Build with Chrome is a partnership between Lego and Chrome (Google) where you can build your own design using virtual Lego bricks. Coupled with Google Maps, you can decide to build your creation anywhere in the world or discover other people’s creations by browsing the map. There is a ‘Build Academy’ for newbies, which takes you through step by step the features of Build with Chrome and what’s possible. The only glitch for students is the need to have a Google+ account to publish. Using screen grabs or clicking the publish key and then saving the URL seems to remember your creation. These are possible workarounds at the moment, but I would be interested to hear if anyone has a better solution. Build with Chrome has excellent Design and Tech applications, with designing a new home, structure, looking at floor plans or streetscapes just to name a few.Pin It
Design & Tech
ABCYA! Animate is an easy to use tool for students to create animated GIFs. Students have up to 100 frames to come up with their creation. They have the ability to select a background or insert objects from a set of backgrounds and objects offered by ABCYA. There are the usual tools for students to create their own backgrounds and objects via a pencil, paintbrush, text and shapes tools. The ability to save the animations as an animated Gif allows students to embed their creations into a website, blog, google+, Smart Notebook, or PowerPoint.
Below is an example of a quick animated GIF that I created using ABCYA animate.
Kizoa is my favourite web 2.0 photo presentation tool. It has a lot of great features that I find helpful as a blogger. Kizoa allows you to edit photos, create fantastic slideshows, add effects, add transitions or create collages. Kizoa has many ways to share your creations or embed them into your blog. I have used Kizoa for two years now and have found it to be an excellent tool to share multiple photos on my classroom blog. The best feature is the unlimited storage of photos, if you purchase the Premium account (US$2.49 per month). This is an attractive feature, particularly for those with limited blog storage. It is also a way of having an online backup of your photos. The free version gives you 1GB of storage and access to the free elements for slideshows, collages and photo-editing. The free version also allows you to share your creations through email or facebook. A good way to look at Kizoa and decide if it is worth going Premium. I have included below a YouTube clip that briefly explores Kizoa’s features.
Photosynth is a set of tools you can use to create really effective 3D panoramic experiences. You can share you Photosynths on Facebook, publish them to Bing maps or for most people embed then in your blog or website. You have the option of creating either a ‘Panorama’ or ‘Synth’. A Panorama is a 3D 360° panorama. To create one you need to simply take many photos from one spot, turning in a circle to take photos on three different planes. I personally start with taking photos in the middle plane with about a 50% overlap. Then I do the high plane and then the low plane. Then you need to use a program called ‘Image Composite Editor’ to stitch these photos together. Then you upload this file using the desktop Photosynth Application. There are detailed instructions on this process on the Photosynth website http://photosynth.net/about.aspx. Below is an example of a Photosynth I created of my classroom over a year a go using this process.
A Synth is created to show something in more detail. Creating a Synth is a more straightforward process. You start by taking many photos of the subject or area. Both close up shots and wide shots. These photos are then uploaded through the Photosynth Desktop Application to create your Synth. Below is a YouTube clip explaining this process. I have also added a really good example of a Synth of the Recent Royal Wedding showing how hundreds of photos of the event have been merged together to show you in detail this grand event.
Photosynth is a great free tool that can be used to share many things in your classroom or events that occur in your school. It is also a great way to give parents and your community the opportunity to have a virtual tour of your school.
Back in June of this year I was watching a BBC program called ‘Click‘, where I came across a program called Kodu. The ‘Click‘ program talked about introducing programming to students. I remember when I was a student actively doing programming on the old Commodore 64 (showing my age now). Today we show students how to use programs, but never open up the world of creating programs for people to use. This is where Kodu comes in. Kodu really does open the world of programming to kids. Kodu is basically a game creation tool, that is very user friendly. It has built in tutorials to get you going and improve your confidence with the program. The bonus is, that it’s free to download and use on your PC. Games that the students develop can even be played on the Xbox.
Here is a link to the ‘Click‘ story: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/click_online/9504208.stm