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Some notes on what we are doing with ict in Sandaig. Testing of the blog software, some links and notes.

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archive link | Perma linkOpenSourceCPD - Picnik - ScreenFlow

I have been working on OpenSourceCPD a bit recently. Mostly working on the On-site Cpd Opportunities. Nearly everything is labelled first draft being work in progress but I guess that is the beauty of a wiki.

Yesterday I knocked out a rough version of the first of some guides to Online Tools. This covers the basic use of Picnik the online image editor. I used Picnik a couple of times with my class last session and was please with how easy it was for children to use. The course (or cpd opportunity) at OpenSourceCPD just goes over the basic use of Picnik and has a few ideas about using it in school. Very much a first draft at the moment, feedback is welcome in the comments or via email.

For the first time on the OpenSourceCPD site I've made use of a screencast. I've made a few of these before elsewhere and used the smartnote book recorder to make instructional videos for the children at school but this time I used an application new to me ScreenFlow.

ScreenFlow is a mac application that allows you to record your screen, audio from the mac and a mic (you can also record from an isight). It then allows you to edit the video and export to quicktime. The editing is very slick, you can auto highlight the main window, the mouse or zoom and pan the video. You can add other images, video and audio. I had a bit of trouble with my mic and recorded the audio over the original footage without too much bother. I am not completely happy with the result (and may redo it ) but that is more to do with me than screenflow, my previous efforts were much shorter, smaller and without a voice over. I think I was trying to go a little too quickly to make for good instruction.

As ever I'd be interested in feedback about OpensourceCPD and the screencast not only the content but the playback as it is a H.264 movie and nearly 30mb.

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archive link | Perma linkFlowgram

Flowgram is a new web-based tool for giving online tours of sets of webpages or photos. I have hasd a quick play (click the widget to see my creation) and it looks like it could be a very useful tool in the classroom.

Once you have signed up and been accepted for the beta flowgram program you can create your own pretty easily. I just watched one of the flowgrams about flogram and tested it without really reading the manual. It is pretty simple to use although I could not get the create tool to load in Safari.

You add pages to a flowgram by adding a url or uploading a photo. Or you could import a flickr set or RSS feed to create a set of pages. Once you have collected your set of pages you can add audio recorded via your browser (flash based) notes and highlight text. I managed to do all without too much bother although it took me a while to get the highlight work. If you scroll a page during recording and then highlight something it will scroll to show the highlight in sync with the audio when playing back. I found that quite tricky to do and if you watch my flowgram above you will notice a few pauses while I scroll and highlight.

The most amazing thing about flowgram is that the pages viewed in flowgram are live the links etc work for the audience. I am not sure how flowgram deals with changes in the webpage perhaps they store local copies.

I think it might be a bit difficult for primary children to use for creating a tour of websites but they could certainly make a slideshow of photos or pictures without too much trouble. For teachers it could be used to give children instructions on using online tools (or for a set of screenshots) or for blogging sites to other teachers for professional development.

Flowgram could be used as an alternate presentation tool, and feels a little like voicethread, although users cannot audio comment. You can make your flowgrams private but I can't see a way to turn off comments which would sometimes be handy for school use. another one t otest on the nexwork next term.

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