Thoughts on teaching, technology, learning and life in an era of change.

Archive for September, 2008

Airfoil your streamed music
September 13th, 2008

One of my favourite sites on the Internet is Wolfgang’s Vault. “What is that?” you ask? It is one of the most incredible music sites on the web. It streams live concert audio archives going back 40 or more years. There are concerts by David Bowie, Neil Young, Led Zeppelin, Blondie, Devo, Allman Brothers Band, Joe Cocker and on and on. There are over 1740 concerts. Check out this listing…

Many of these shows were broadcast live on American radio networks. Some of you may remember the King Biscuit Flower Hour or the Superstar Concert Series? Quite often these radio broadcasts were recorded by fans on to tape and then bootlegged. One of my favourite bootlegs was Resurrection on 84th Street which featured a live performance by David Bowie that was recorded at the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale on the 23rd March, 1976. I bought my copy from Toad Hall’s Rare Records in Victoria via the post. The double album set cost me $11.00AUD.

Anyway, portions of this show are now available at Wolfgang’s Vault. The band for the tour were tight. The shows were powerful. Bowie was really enjoying himself.

Every now and then I surf over to the vault and listen to a gig or two. It is incredible. The two Led Zeppelin shows from 1969 are brilliant.

Tonight I thought I would set up Airfoil on the Mac and play the streamed audio through my stereo via the wireless network. I have been playing my iTunes playlists over the wireless network for a while now. I should have set up Airfoil to broadcast the other audio on my Mac as well a long time ago.

This software is neat. You can select the different nodes on your network and adjust the volume and equalisation of the audio. Works on Windows too.

Historic Tale Construction Kit Tip Sheets
September 13th, 2008

During the last couple of weeks my Year Eights have had the chance to pay a few visits to one of our school computer labs. We have four Macintosh labs and they are almost constantly booked out. That is a good sign actually.

Anyway, I have been aching to share Historic Tale Construction Kit with my students and as our unit on the Middle Ages draws to a close I have booked them in to the labs and they have taken to the ‘kit’ rather enthusiastically.

I have created a couple of worksheets that the students can follow if they wish but, to be frank, one quick demo and a few hints is all they need. It is a little quirky at times. Sometimes a character element will freeze and cannot be deleted. There seems to be a limit to the number of elements one can include in a scene. These are very minor issues. It is quite a simple yet quite powerful little online programme. Links to the sheets below.

When they complete a scene I ask them to take a screen shot (as opposed to publishing it online), save the capture and then embed their collected scenes in Comic Life. [All you iPhone and iTouch fans might like to check out Comic Touch as well]

Of course, both Historic Tale Construction kit and Comic Life work just as well in a Windows environment.

At the end of the lesson I allow the class five minutes to play with PhotoBooth. I call it the PhotoBooth Moment. They enjoy it.


Historic Tale Construction Kit worksheet [doc]
Historic Tale Construction Kit tip sheet
Comic Life worksheet [doc]
Comic Life worksheet [pdf]
Earlier blog post on HTCK #1
Earlier blog post on HTCK #2

Why do you teach? Is it the subject or the students?
September 11th, 2008

Today I was speaking with an old friend. We were conversing about why people teach.

He mentioned that there must be teachers out there who joined the profession because they have a love or admiration of the subject matter and that the students are secondary to that motivating force. That statement intrigued me. Would there be teachers who enjoy the subject, say Science or Mathematics, and have become teachers simply to impart their knowledge and love of the subject? Where does that leave the students?

They added that people who join the profession specifically because they like to work with children are more likely to become primary school teachers as they are teaching a broad range of subjects. I wonder.

This photograph needs a new story
September 10th, 2008

I took this photograph in Boorowa in mid-western NSW, Australia. I was intrigued to see a sign pointing to Internet Access. I wondered how old it was.

Anyway, I think this photograph needs a new story. How would you use this photograph? It is yours to use. The high resolution original is here.

Sootie suffers a little hubris
September 9th, 2008

Sootie has discovered how to Google his own name and…