Old technology

It’s always fun, as well as informative, to look at photos or videos to check out the technology used, especially if the photo or video is old. In this video of Jimmy Nail’s Ain’t No Doubt, I’ve spotted several examples of “retro” technology. Perhaps you or your students can spot more? Here’s what struck me:
Read More

An update in the style of an old film

Let there be joy and jubilation! I’ve been working really intensely on a particular piece of work, which is why this website hasn’t been updated in several days. But now, I have almost completed it. And so, to mark the occasion, I have recorded a brief update.
Read More

A film competition, video judging and a consultation

cameramanChildnet International, a registered charity whose mission is to work in partnership with others around the world to “help make the Internet a great and safe place for children”, is running a film competition. Here are the details:

Read More

Web 2.0 For Rookies: Geotagging

Geotagging is the term given to the adding of geographical metadata to photos, videos, tweets, websites and other media. This ' metadata ' can include longitude and latitude, and other attributes such as altitude. There's a fuller version of this summary information over at Wikipedia , but let's think about the applications of this technology in school.

You can geotag photos, which is a fancy way of saying that you can embed geographical metadata into your digital photos. Have a look at the information -- the metadata - shown below for two photos. One important difference between the two is that the one on the right includes information about where the photo was taken.

Spot the difference

There are several ways of entering this information in a photo. One is to buy a camera that does it automatically. That's still a bit of an expensive option. Compact models are starting to appear at a price which makes it feasible to consider having two or three in a school for lending out to classes, but not one per class, much less several per class unless the school has a clearly thought-out policy regarding the purchase and use of handheld devices. (For example, Scargill Junior School uses sets of SmartPhones for geotagging photos.) This is a clear example of where allowing youngsters to use their iPhones would make perfect sense, if managed carefully. If the kids have the technology, we should be providing educational opportunities for them to use it. Seems like a no-brainer to me. (There's a good article in the early-April issue of Computers in Classrooms in which a teenager describes how essential his phone is to him. I believe he sometimes even uses it for talking to people!)

Another option is to place your photo on a map in Flickr . This works well, but can be a cumbersome process if there are lots pf pictures to process. Obviously, it would be a good idea to make this process an educational activity in itself: something the geography folk could get involved in perhaps? There's a geotagging group on Flickr , with links about how to use the mapping facilities there.

Yet another approach is to but a wi-fi-enabled storage card, which is what I hope to experiment with soon. This looks like a brilliant option. It's not exactly cheap, though, and at the moment it seems to me that you'd get better value for money by purchasing a new gps-enabled camera than one of the full-works eye-fi cards, even though it would cost you more. I think this is an area where careful research, and some patience, are required.

So what can you actually use geotagging for in education? One obvious answer is anywhere that mapping is relevant. For example, a presentation about a school trip can be made to come alive by placing the photos taken on a map. And school excursions can themselves be made more exciting by the use of geocaching , which is essentially a treasure hunt that makes use of GPS-enabled devices to find hidden objects.

Get SmartExploration of different habitats in the local area or school grounds can include geotagging the photos taken. In Scargill Junior School, mentioned earlier, the children use the SmartPhones to take pictures of minibeasts , and the exact location of the insects is recorded at the same time, enabling them to find them easily again, and to place them on a map.

Anything involving measures of distance or altitude will not only thrill the geography teacher, but will be welcomed with open arm by the mathematics teachers too. For history teachers, also, the use of geotagging to explore where past battles took place must be an exciting prospect. You could also bring in a discussion of the impact of information technology on society: in England during WW2 rural place names and signposts were taken down so that the Germans would get lost if they managed to land on our shores. (See this set of Yahoo! Answers , especially #3.) How useful would that bluint approach be in this day and age?

Even the artists can get involved. You can find out how by going to Lesson Planet , where a multitude of suggestions for geotagging and using GPS-enabled devices will be found. You have to log in to find out the detail, but there are pages of ideas which subject specialists should be able to make sense of.

An example of geotagging you may have come across is the Clustr map . Seen on numerous blogs , this is a map showing where visitors have come from. Variations may also be found on widgets which proclaim when the last visitor arrived on the site, and where they are accessing it from, and the sort of thing I experienced when taking part in a Classroom 2.0 Live discussion , when as people joined the discussion they were invited to enter their location on a world map. 

This kind of thing is, I have to say, terribly exciting! It's fascinating to see how many people in different parts of the world are looking at your stuff. It engenders a sense of curiosity ("What country is that ?" ), and even a sense of responsibility: in some cultures some of the things we say and do would probably cause deep offence.

OK, so geotagging is fun, and educational, but where does Web 2.0 come into it? I think there is the obvious answer that the sort of thing I just mentioned msakes it interesting and more meaningful to collaborate with other people from a different location. On a more everyday level, it's possible to take a photo of something, say a restaurant, review the thing you've taken a picture of, and upload both to a site where anyone looking for a restaurant (say) in that area will come across your review and photo.

My own view is that geotagging is not so much an example of a Web 2.0 application in itself, but it is certainly one that can enhance what I would call the 'Web 2.0 experience'.

Other useful references:

Educational Geo-caching (especially pages 10-13)

Geotagging in education

Google Earth for Educators

JSchools use geotagging , wikis , iPhones to teach

Did You Know We Appear To Have Lost All Critical Faculties?

OK, I admit it: I just don't get it. Did You Know, which is now in its 4th incarnation, has to be one of the worst videos of all time. All it does is present fact after fact (assuming they are facts), as if the facts in themselves are important.

Why, for example, do I need to know that more video has been uploaded in the last two months than if ABC, NBC and some other TV station whose logo I don't recognise had been airing new content continuously since 1948?

What does this fact even mean, except that millions of people now have the ability to upload videos to a website, where millions of people can watch them! I can see the point of saying that, but what's the point of making that comparison?

The facts are presented so rapidly, and some of the numbers are so large, that it's difficult to mentally process them, let alone evaluate them in terms of their potential impact. Imagine if reading was not your forté.

And that's the thing: it takes some doing to take a potentially really exciting medium like video, and reduce it to the equivalent of the worst kind of PowerPoint presentation. The only thing missing are the bullet points. Well, actually, they're not missing: they're just not visible as such.

This latest version has been produced in collaboration with The Economist apparently. When I read that I thought it might have been really beefed up. It turns out that the main change as far as I can tell is that some upbeat music has replaced the awful dirge that accompanied the earlier versions.

And yet this video or its predessors has 'gone viral'. It's shown in schools all over the place, where headteachers and principals, who one would have thought could exercise enough critical judgement to recognise an emperor with no clothes, say how fantastic it is.

Like I said at the start of this article, I just don't get it.

Anyway, here it is. Judge for yourself, and if you think I'm wrong, or you have found it useful in any way, please share your views via the comments section. Thanks.

Web 2.0 Project: Sharon Peters' work

Here’s a thumbnail sketch of some interesting work that Sharon Peters is doing with Web 2.0. It is taken from the forthcoming second edition of the free Web 2.0 projects Book which was published last year -- over 11,000 copies downloaded! The book itself will contain even more information, so look out for that early in 2010!

Name: Sharon Peters

Application type: Take2 Videos, Video/Video Podcast,Social networking

Age range: 14-16 years

Description of project

National Geographic Photojournalist, Karin Muller, embeds herself in areas of global conflict to take HD footage which she releases to students so they can create meaningful documentaries. Last year, she released footage from Darfur, this year, Cuba.

Benefits of using Web 2.0

Motivation,Participation,Variety of means of expression,Any time,Anywhere,Ownership,Forms of literacy,Collaboration,Creativity

URL: http://take2videos.ning.com/

Are you doing interesting work with Web 2.0 applications in your school or college? If so, why not contribute to a new ebook containing ideas that other teachers can pick up and use? Further information is right here:


Look at for another 'thumbnail sketch' this time tomorrow.

Video choice: 10/28/2009

Warren Etheredge – The Art of the Interview (Or How to Grill a Star) ~ Chris Pirillo

This video has nothing to do with educational technology as such. However, I decided to bookmark it because it contains some important lessons for would-be student media stars:

  • Do your research
  • Only prepare the first question
  • Above all, LISTEN.

    Definitely worth watching with your class and then discussing.

    tags: video

    Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.