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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links for 2010-04-29

Category : Feeds

  • Bluetooth Radar displays both paired Bluetooth devices—devices linked to your computer—and unpaired devices just floating around within reach of your Bluetooth radio. Bluetooth Radar retrieves basic information from the unpaired devices but in the case of paired devices gives you additional options like file transfer and remote file browsing.

Motivation and Accelerated ReaderI

Category : Educational Technology

There is a wonderful discussion going on over at Bud the Teacher’s blog regarding Accelerated Reader. The discussion piqued my interest because of the mention of motivation. Here is my comment, and I encourage you to participate.

If you are interested in the motivational theory I often espouse, please visit this link for a great resource. Stay away from the wikipedia article on it, it stinks.

Comment here if you like, but I’d rather hear your voice on Bud’s blog.

Hi Bud,

Thanks for pinging me on this. While I am not terribly certain what I think about AR, I do have some thoughts about motivation.

However, I will keep them brief since your post is more about AR than about motivation. For what it’s worth, my school recently quit the formal AR program and has implemented something very similar. I am not sufficiently familiar with it to comment on its success or failure, nor am I qualified in that arena.

I want to hone in on what you said here..

“I know that motivation that springs from external sources isn’t terribly motivating when the external motivator is gone.  In fact, I know that such external motivation can decrease one’s intrinsic motivation for the thing that being fiddled with.”

This can be true, but depends entirely on the context. You brought about Deci’s work, he and a second author named Ryan went rounds about this very topic in a series of journal articles.

Suffice it to say, I’d argue motivation is more complex than simply a series of external or internal motivators. I’d posit that motivation is more related to the anticipated value of an activity. When I was growing up I can recall asking teachers when I’d need a particular math skill later in life. Subconsciously I was trying to justift the effort I was going to have to exert to understand/learn/demonstrate the skill.

When one expects little value from a task, one will likely exert little effort. This is precisely why many students abandon school or do only the bare minimum. They see no value in school. But that’s another comment, I suppose.

What I am positing is based on the Expectency-Value theory of motivation, made popular by Eccles and Wigfield.  I’d avoid the wikipedia article, it needs help.

EV theory boils down to two questions..

1. Can I do the task?
2. Do I want to do the task?

When it comes to AR, it may be that students anticipate recieving value from the prizes, etc they recieve for reading. I don’t know if that’s good or bad.

I doubt it is creating in them an expectency of value for reading itself.

Perhaps the incentives will help them realize they like reading? No clue.

Either way, EVT forms a nice framework for motivation and deserves a higher place in our discussion.

For more information on EVT, stay away from Wikipedia. Visit this link instead.


Chris Craft

VLMC – Open Source non-linear video Editing

Category : Software

Warning: Before you read any further you need to know that VLMC is pre-alpha code. This means it’s not even beta. Much of this will not work. Do *not* consider VLMC a replacement for your current video-editing software. This post is designed only to give you a preview of what is to come. I think this is an exciting project but will take some time before it is ready for prime time.

Another note, this software is currently NOT available for Mac OS X. Although if you use a Mac, you’ve already got a great product in iMovie.

With that said…

I’ve been interested in free or open source video-editing software for some time. Years ago I played with a build of Jahshaka, which has been recently reinvented as Cinefx. I found it sorely lacking and very difficult to use.

Given my bent towards all things open source, I have been a big fan of VLC for my media playing and sometimes transcoding needs. VLC aptly handles streaming (both the sending of a stream and the receiving of it) as well as it can rip a DVD with the best of them. This is a preview of the new VLMC video-editing software, put out by the same folks as VLC.

First, download and install the software. Find the most recent release, which is easy to do since they are dated.

When you first run the software, it will warn you, much like I did at the beginning of this post.

Provided you are OK with that, click on I understand.

Most of the time when I open the program (despite my best efforts) it tells me I didn’t close it nicely. Again, it’s pre-alpha code so this stuff is normal.

I click No each time. Not sure what would happen if I clicked Yes. It’d probably eat my car or something drastic.

So then you get the create project screen.

Then you move to the New Project Wizard.

You can then fine tune the settings for your new project.

Once inside the program the main editing window looks like this:

You’ll need to import some video. For the purposes of this demo, I used some footage from

Click Import, then move the files you want to import to the panel next to the file list using the blue arrow.

Once you get them imported, drag one to the timeline on the right side.

To remove a section, simply use the scissors to place two cut marks and then use the mouse button to move the clip around.

I hope you have enjoyed our tour of VLMC. I am thrilled at the possibilites for this application.

links for 2010-04-14

Category : Feeds

links for 2010-04-13

Category : Feeds

  • QSynergy is a comprehensive and easy to use graphical front end for Synergy. Synergy lets a user control more than one computer with a single mouse and keyboard (and has lots and lots of extra features on top of that).