Crucial Thought Rss

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Chris selected as K12OnlineConference keynote speaker Each year the K12OnlineConference provides tremendous professional development for free, and entirely online. This year, they have selected me as one of their keynote speakers. I am thrilled to have been chosen and look forward to participating in the conversation. Read the full post announcing all the keynote speakers here.

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Two quick links on Cognitive Load Theory I've been fielding lots of questions lately about Cognitive Load Theory. Here are two quick links that may be useful. First is an article talking about the practical implications of CLT on the design of learning. The second are some "recent" (as of 2003) developments regarding CLT. Happy reading! Update: I clarified the second...

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Practical advice on kids and Android app development After hearing about my students' success developing an Android app, I've gotten several emails asking for more details as to how I practically worked with my kids. Here are some pointers that I offered to the first person that emailed me, perhaps they are of some use to you. Please note that your mileage may vary. It's ok to not be...

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Publishing an App Inventor app to the Android Market As I mentioned earlier, my students and I published an Android app to the Android Market. See those links for more information on the background. This post is decidedly technical. First, once we finished the coding process, we packaged the app for to download to the computer. This is an option in App Inventor. This downloaded an .apk file....

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Designing and publishing an Android app with kids This post is designed to provide some context around how/why we decided to build this app. The more technical details of the code and how we published it will come in a future post. My students and I recently completed and published an Android app, and here's how we did it. First, the genesis for this goes back to a question I asked...

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Comparing video hosting services when displaying HD video

Category : Educational Technology

A few days ago I got my new Flip Mino HD in the mail. I charged it overnight and then began to play. Last night, I shot a quick bit of footage in low light situations. First I recorded my Christmas tree and then my Christmas lights outside. I uploaded it to YouTube using the included FlipShare software.

@thekyleguy mentioned via Twitter that YouTube does not do well with HD footage, despite being newly HD and widescreen capable. He recommended as a viable alternative.

I decided to compare them head to head, well, to head. I added Vimeo to the mix, as it is my sharing service of choice when publishing work for public display. My little less than one minute video was roughly 70 megs when copied right from the Flip.

Here are the three videos. Keep in mind I uploaded this without any changes at all. This is raw footage, compressed using the Flip’s internal H.264 compression and then the sites do with it what they please to display it. I also did not change the default embed code in any way, despite Vimeo’s delicious method to change the size, color, etc of embedded videos.
I had to change all the embed code to the same size. Since YouTube’s embed code used the size I liked the best (560×345) I stuck with that all around. This post looked awful with three videos of all different sizes. In hindsight this should have been three posts.

The first thing to notice is that the player borks my theme because of the width. It plays HD video in the native resolution of 1280×750. I could change that in the code relatively easily, but in keeping with a direct head to head to head comparison, to heck with my theme.



So the Vimeo embed wasn’t HD. You have to go to the Vimeo site to watch it in HD. Odd.

Impressed with Vocaroo

Category : Educational Technology

A few weeks ago I read Tom Barrett’s Google Earth posts with interest. The idea of using voice inside Google Earth was intriguing, as it opened up new ways for my students in Spanish class to use the language.

So I tried Vocaroo. It didn’t work.

I emailed my principal and it was then forwarded to the district level for consideration. The district folks determined that when pressing Record, the request actually went to a different server. That server was blocked by our filters for being a known proxy hosting server. I accept the need to block that server, and wrote off Vocaroo.

However, I decided to email the Vocaroo folks and let them know. Originally they had me check to see if port 1935 was open in our district. It is. A few days later, I got an email from the Vocaroo folks saying..

Hi, just an update on this.

Vocaroo has now moved to a different server, so you should be able to
access it now (unless they deliberately block the domain).

Wow! Vocaroo works like a charm now! Yay!

I asked whether this was directly related to my emails from earlier and they said:

Yes it was in response to your request – and thanks for reporting the
problem. The more people that can use it, the better 🙂

Wow again! I’m impressed. A very public thank you to Vocaroo for being willing to make this change so that my students and presumably many others can use the service.

This goes to show you, it pays to contact folks.

WordPress 2.7

Category : General

I’ve upgraded to WordPress 2.7. I hope it worked!

Nearest book meme

Category : General

Doug Johnson of the Blue Skunk Blog recently posted about the Nearest Book Meme.

I thought I’d play along.

The book is called 365 Daily Devotions for  Righteous Man.

Page 56 is also Day 56, and the fifth sentence is, “And, few things in life provide more contentment than the knowledge that we are obeying God’s commandments.”

I didn’t plan this, but it happened to be the nearest book. If you want to play along, here are the rules:

* Get the book nearest to you. Right now.
* Go to page 56.
* Find the 5th sentence.
* Write this sentence – either here or on your blog.
* Copy these instructions as commentary of your sentence.
* Don’t look for your favorite book or your coolest but really the nearest.

And like Doug, I want to say Thanks to Stephen Abrams of Stephen’s Lighthouse for this rather interesting (and easy) meme.