Saturday, February 28, 2009


Blogging not only allows you to reflect on your own thinking, it helps you to connect with the thoughts of others. Blogging at Learning@School Conferences has grown from strength to strength. Twitter has added to this connection as teachers across the globe and nation connect using the microblogging platform.

One delegate who has been in the NZ Twitter network this year mentioned that because of the connections through Twitter she now felt really connected and less lonely while attending the conference. She has a ready group of people with whom she feels comfortable and can also carry out extended conversations long after the conference is over. These connections extend the learning and support us as we head back into normal daily life trying to incorporate the extensive professional development just undertaken.

Blogging has also created a new breed of creature loosely termed the ‘blogebrity’. In the image above Wes Fryer is taking the place as the international blogebrity for this year’s Learning@School (clicking on the image will take you to the original on Flickr which is annotated).

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Why do you like blogging?

Today I was reading a post by a friend of mine. He writes,
This is why I like blogging. You get to chew on life, like a cow chewing its cud, you get to think through your experiences, make connections, appreciate stuff again and taste it all anew. It matters not whether people read it, agree with it or enjoy it... read more
He has such a good way of expressing things. I urge you to go and read the whole post and think about why do you like blogging...

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Learning @ School blue screening with a Mac workshop

One of the workshops I'm running this year, with colleagues Dave Young and Disa McLean, is on how to chromakey with a Mac.

I had my first play around yesterday and it is soooooo easy using iMovie HD.

To make this video I took a video of a blue lunch box lid against the carpet, then used chromakey to make it mask a picture of my daughter. I was thinking you could use something like this as a guessing game with younger students. Or you could even video a blue square on a student's shirt and turn them into a Teletubby!

To get started I downloaded the plug in for iMovie from Stupendous Software, you have to put the plugin in the right place. You can find the link for downloading and view a visual on where to put the plugin on this page of the workshop wiki.

I put it in my user name > library > iMovie > plug-ins

Now you're ready. To build a movie the first step is to film against a blue screen. Make sure you have a good light source and no shadows. You can film an object moving across the blue screen or, like my movie above, film the blue screen that will be the frame for what image you put behind. Place this movie in your timeline.

Next place the object that you would like to be shown in place of the blue area on your video next to the video in the timeline. I used a still image however you could also use a video. Make sure this video or still image is the same length or longer than the blue screen video.

Next click on the blue screen video and from the editing tab click on video FX and scroll down and click on the one called 'ss Blue Screen, Smooth'. You can move the sliders to get just the right amount of colour and coverage and then select apply.

Once the clip has finished rendering preview to see if it is what you wanted then you can delete the second clip in the timeline as it has been merged with the first.

And there you have it. Blue screening made simple.

You can get the links, examples and explanations on the workshop wiki which is currently under construction.

This was so much fun. If any of my schools out there would like me to come and do a workshop with them, let me know.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Turn your Mac color picker into an application

I'm feeling particularly clever today. I solved a problem and it worked!! Have you ever wanted to grab a colour off the web or another application? Well you can use the color picker that comes with the Mac to do this. Thanks to Macostips for this very simple tip.

1. Open applications > AppleScript > Script Editor
2. Enter this text:
choose color
3. Save it as an application (File > Save as and set the file format pop-up to application)

And that's it! Simple as that. You can now use your color picker any time you want.

To add something extra to your colour picker, download the HexColorPicker. This adds another tab to the color picker bar which tells you the exact number/letter identification of the colour you have chosen. Very handy for when working on the web. Read the help file that comes with this download to tell you where to place the bundle in your directory (very simple).

One more something extra. Your colour picker allows you to create your own palettes and save for later use. This tutorial talks you through the very simple steps.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Learning@School 09

For those of you who are coming to Learning@School this year in Rotorua, the L@S Blog is up and running. Put it in your feed reader to keep up to date with all the news, events and gossip.

On a side note... I had one of these yesterday ... oh well

Nothing a trip to Rotorua to meet face-to-face with my virtual buddies won't chase away!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Blogger's Cafe at Learning@School 09

Each year the Blogger's Cafe is getting bigger and better. This year the cafe is being sponsored by Breathe Technology and will be situated in the hallway linking the main hall and the keynotes. We will have tables, data projector and screen so we can share our twittering and blogging and general chit chat with others.

Simon "The dragon" Evans will be manning the cafe and would love to chat with old bloggers, meet new bloggers and even introduce you to blogging if you want to get started.

Breathe Technology will also be holding a competition to win a full day's professional development.

So come and join us at the Blogger's Cafe, meet the people you have been connecting with through blogs, get started blogging or even find out about this Twitter thing :).

Photo credit: Allanah with a pen? by Fiona Grant