Cool Links #107: Strep Throat Final Day

My son had strep throat and the Dr. wouldn’t let him go back to school until tomorrow.  So today is my day for parent duty – so no school.  The yearbook is finally done, except the supplement and I can finally get a post out.  It has been more than a month since my last post.  Wow, that’s bad.  I do have a lot of links though.

1 – Thanks to the Principal’s Page for this photo “What we see, what the kids see.”  Funny.

2 – British photographer Horace Winters gives us a visual record of what the world of Charles Dickens was like.  Courtesy of the blog Spitalfields Life, these photos could be used in history class, British Lit. or journalism.  They are a great record of what most of us can only imagine from reading Nicolas Nicklesby or any other Dickens classic.

East End Nippers

East End Nippers

3 – As a teacher of both journalism and history, I’ve always been fascinated by the stories from the US Civil War and WWI of the Christmas truces.  Many times, these tales tell of swapping common, but well liked items from one side, for what seems like better items from the other side – southern tobacco for northern coffee, etc.  But also of singing common hymns like Silent Night, and then on Dec. 26, a return to the shooting.  Thanks to Iconic Photos for the picture.

Christmas Truce

Christmas Truce

4 – Make Use Of has a Simple Guide to How The Internet Works in PDF format.  Great for teaching students the basics of the internet.

5 – Here’s a great way to do first time assignments for MMJs doing a one-man-band assignment, thanks Bob Kaplitz blog.

6 – I think I’ve featured this before – Cueprompter – it is a free online teleprompter that works pretty good.

7 – I’m excited about the upcoming film – The Bang Bang Club about a group of photographers, including Pulitzer winner Kevin Carter.  Thanks PetaPixel blog.

8 – Now this is punny.

Punny

Punny

9 – Silber Studios have some super color photos from Frank Hurley, the photographer who accompanied Ernest Shackleton to Antarctica, but failed to reach the South Pole.  The site discusses the difficulty in taking photos on the journey, never mind color ones.

Early Color Photos from Antarctica

Early Color Photos from Antarctica

10 – Here’s another iconic photo from the blog of the same name – The End of the Thousand Year Reich, taken by the incredible Margaret Bourke-White.  She saw and took photos of so many incredible things during her career and this suicide photo was just one more to add to the list.  Read the whole post for the rich details about the photo and the end of WWII and the many suicides of Nazi party faithful.

End of the German Reich

End of the German Reich

11 – No Cool Links would be complete without a post from the DPs, Digital Photography School.  Every photojournalist needs to be able to shoot a decent portrait.  Here are 10 Techniques for better portraits.

12 – Photographer Sean Armenta is a photoshop wizard and his tutorials on the Pen Tool and Healing Brush are great.  Here’s his new one on the Clone Stamp Tool.  Thanks PetaPixel and F/Stoppers.

13 – Pro Photographer Mike Olivella has a great YouTube channel where he shows off his techniques for shooting NCAA sports.  Here’s his tips on Football.

14 – I guess this is the photography post – here’s a video on Vimeo about what it is like to be a photographer in the Obama White House.

15 – Here’s a little gem – a video about making a book using hot lead presses.

16 – What would happen if you used your camera for the first time?  Funny video.

17 – The Lenslinger really says it all in this “open letter.” You can’t just be a writer or reporter or a photographer any more.  You really must be able to do it all and do it well.  You can’t be lazy and you better be good at what you do – or you will be gone.

18 – Want a graphical timeline of computers from 1939 to 2010?

I’ve got tons more links, but I want to try to get back to a once a week schedule and publish again this coming weekend.  Hope to see you then.

 

iPod Touch: Can’t Stop The Music, Podcasts, and Apps

I have been a long time user of my iPod.  I first bought one about three years ago – a silver 4GB Nano.  It held most of my music and more importantly introduced me to the world of podcasts.  I learned so much from podcasts.  I was entertained, informed and it made me more mellow.  I actually don’t mind waiting as much.  I am calmer when I drive and listen to a podcast.

About a year ago, my Nano ended up in my iced tea.  It didn’t work for a week and so I went out and bought a Gold 8GB long Nano.  The new Nano’s are great and it held ALL my music collection plus podcasts.  Eventually my old Nano dried out and began to work again.  So I gave it to my son because his iPod Shuffle didn’t have a screen.  He likes the Nano better.

This week I’ve been borrowing an iPod Touch from my school library.  I’ve been helping them tech out.  She got a dozen of them to begin the eBook transition in our library.  But I’d never used one and could only help her so much.  So, she asked me if I wanted to borrow it for the summer to figure it out.  So, I’ve been using it and loving it.

I need an iPod Touch.  I have been delving into apps, eBooks and mobile surfing.  I love being able to access the Net by Wi-Fi at school, home and Starbucks.  I love being able to read eBook apps for FREE.  There are so many great books available as free apps.  But I also like being able to access my email, rss reader and so much more.  I’m addicted.

I think I will be shelling out some money after the summer is over to get one of these fun and useful little gagets.

Cool Links #85: The One About ILPC

Here in Texas, we have a journalism convention hosted by the state sports and academics authority (UIL) every spring in Austin on the campus of that Orange and White University.  (My sister is an Aggie, so I’m not allowed to say the name of the university in question.)  The trip is nearly always fun, entertaining and we learn something too.  I attended some great sessions put on by some great speakers from near and far.  One of the best parts of the trip is seeing other staff’s t-shirts.  My favorite this year was West Orange.  Their shirts said “That’s What She Said.” on the front and “You can tell me, I’m a reporter.” on the back.  It has taken me an entire week to recover from the lost sleep and insane amount of fun my students and I had on the trip.  So, now a long overdue Cool Links episode.

1 – Adam Westbrook says that news organizations are too big to succeed and that we all just need to keep it simple, silly.

2 – Jim Jordan provided one of my links this week in his UIL session last week – 51 Ways to tell the story of your year.

3 – This next link also came from the workshop, from a professor at the University of Nebraska, Scott Winter.  I really enjoyed this video about a native American girl, literally fighting to get off the reservation.

4 –  The incomparable Bob Kaplitz Blog has another gold nugget – this one shows why viewers hate boring, out of focus video.

5 – I’m not a big fan of script fonts in school publications.  Usually they are either overused or used in ways that harm readability.  But Web Design Ledger has a super group of 20 that are modern and useful.

6 – The Google CEO says newspapers will make money again – online.  They just need to hang on and get through these lean times.  I tend to agree with him, but I also understand that the dynamics of the web mean that most newspapers will be smaller, and more focused on local or niche content.

7 – Winning the war of the scrum is more a job for rugby players than photographers, unless you’re a paparazzo.  Fun Tuna has a collection of images that illustrate the daily grind of those who hunt stars for a living.

Photog Scrum

Photog Scrum

8 – Here’s a blog I added to my RSS reader recently – Local News Queen.

9 – This is the biggest problem with news organizations getting smaller.  Too big to fail, also often means too big to sue.  Few would willing take on the lawyers at the New York Times.  But I doubt many would hesitate to take on a blogger, especially one who makes their bread and butter in a small market.  The Newsosaur agrees and the comments on this article are even more engaging.

10 – While I teach in a 1:1 classroom (I have a workstation for every student), I don’t teach in a 1:1 school.  I wish I did.  I think that students from Title I schools need more than their peers.  They need computers in every grade PK-12.  But sadly, I see three of the five insights from the Always Learning blog as roadblocks in going 1:1 in a Title I school.

1. Involve All The Stakeholders:  Most Title I schools have little or no involvement from parents.  Many parents work, some have two jobs.  Others have language barriers.  Many feel uncomfortable in schools due to their own level of education.  It is a recipe for limited parental involvement.

2. School Leadership Must Take An Active Role:  School administrators in a Title I school have more problems on their plate than solutions.  They have limited time and resources.  They are not likely to initiate an expensive program like a 1:1 initiative when they have so many more pressing issues.  And mandated testing only exacerbates these problems.

4. Project Based Learning Is Where It’s At:  State mandated minimum skills tests take up so much time, effort, staffing and funding at Title I schools, that PBL is not going to be an option unless we change the metrics.  We can’t swim against the stream, when we’ve got to deal with the realities of passing a test that is difficult for students with issues that face most Title I schools.

11 – Jeff Jarvis reboxes his iPad.  The journalism professor was an early advocate of the device, but now says it is not going to benefit him as a content creator.  That’s too bad, because I think that if the iPad had a web cam and a microphone input, it would be a great journalism device.

12 – The Edit Foundry blog deals with the issue of color correction in Final Cut.  Very useful tips and tricks.

13 – Journalists are too focused on using ads to make money on the web according to Adam Westbrook.  I’m sure this is true, but as I’ve said before on this blog, journalists – especially in America – were told for three generations or more that it was unethical to get your hands dirty with the money making side of the business.  News should be clean and keep out of the sales dept.   Most journalists have little or no idea how to monetize anything.   And it may take an entire generation before that changes.

14 – Is the White House Press Corps dead? The Daily Beast thinks it may be dying.

15 – Is CNN dead? The New York Times thinks that the once great news network (remember the voice of James Earl Jones: This is CNN?) may be on the way out.  It’s death hastened by FOX News and MSNBC’s race to opinion based “reporting.”

16 – Several states including California are attempting to make unpaid internships illegal.  I want to salute them for that.  I remember a number of journalism students that I knew who could not find paying internships.  They were forced to work for free, and so did the bare minimum number of hours needed to complete their credit.  It didn’t serve them well and was a horrible way to “pay their dues” in the industry.

17 – Pxleyes blog has a fun post with 45 more Photoshop Disasters, some you’ve seen and some you haven’t – some safe for school, but not all.  Some are just creepy.

Creepy Photoshop Disasters

Creepy Photoshop Disasters

I think that’s going to do it for this week.  I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Our last day is the first week of June.

Cool Links #79: The One About Saturday Work Days

This Saturday my district had an official work day.  Now, I know my teacher pals out in California are wondering how crazy I am to complain, since they have furlough days.  It seems weird, but true.  We have 10 days a year of staff development.  My district decided that two of these days would be on Saturdays prior to state testing weeks.  Lucky for me, I got time to work on planning, grading, ete.  I took that time to check yearbook pages.  It took up nearly all of the day, plus I checked equipment that was turned in and put away (some poorly).  It was actually a productive day.  Now the links:

1 – This is a fun read.  A Newsweek magazine writer in 1995 wrote a screed against the internet - mostly about how it was going to fail to bring us online shopping, telecommuting, online ticketing and reservations and how it would fail to replace newspapers, want ads, travel agents or retail stores.  Fun.

2 – A good friend of mine is heading to Portland for a conference, but more importantly is wondering – just like I often do – how the heck do you find a camera that will work with your computer editing gear?  It’s a big problem.

3 – This is an excellent post about the 960 Web grid.  I think almost all good design on the web or off starts with a good grid system.

4 – The excellent Edit Foundry blog has a post about how to use regular text features found in most NLE software to spice up your b/roll in a news story, complete with video examples.

5 – As a kid, I loved School House Rock.  The videos helped me learn the Preamble to the Constitution and what the heck an Adverb was or a Conjunction.  I’m working with my yearbook staff on AP Style and Grammar and some need a refresher on the parts of speech, but I want to make it fun for them, so here are some of the best Grammar Rocks episodes.  I highly recommend purchasing it – possibly from Amazon.com

6 – The ever useful Bob Kaplitz blog has another post about shooting your own stand-ups, something we all need to teach now that everyone is expected to be an MMJ or 1-man-band.

His second video this week was one about constructing a video for storytelling.  Great tips.

7 – As someone who is always trying to find a better way to motivate students to do a good job, I find this Dan Pink TED Talk to be both interesting and depressing.  He shows us how extrinsic motivation is not working, but doesn’t really show us how to use intrinsic motivation to replace it.  I do plan on reading his book Drive soon.

8 – It seems like the Paparazzi have always been with us, at least as long as photography has – here’s a photo from 1932 to show how it was done then.

Paparazzi in 1932

Paparazzi in 1932

9 – Campfire Journalism has a wicked cool video on how to use Garageband for Journalists.  I wish there was a similar video for Audacity too.  They have a ton of other great resources too.

Have a great week.  We are nearly done with the yearbook – can’t wait.

Cool Links #72: The One About The End of A Decade

Seems like a lot of end of 2000s stuff in the old link basket this week.  Loads of stuff though, hope you all like it.

1 – The Oatmeal has lots of great graphics and ideas, but some of them are not safe for schools.  I like this 10 Words You Need To Stop Misspelling.  NSFS, but could easily be adapted.

2 – Save the Media has some suggestions for the AP Stylebook – such as Twitterati, Twitterverse and Tweet.  Best takeaway – it is Tweet, not Twitter – when used as a verb.

3 – David Warlick of 2 Cents Worth has some great Questions for the Next Decade.   I agree that they are questions.  I wonder when we will stop wasting money on textbooks, when PDFs would serve us so much better.  When will we really devote more money to technology.

4 – The New York Times made a terrific icon chart with graphics representing various categories for every year of the past 10.  My fav icon – Starbucks.  The most interesting – Movies in the Mail, an industry that came, grew and will soon be gone in less than 10 years.

5 – Poynter Online has a super list of suggestions for Writing Teachers to include in their lessons and in their classrooms.

6 – Good Magazine has another interesting graphic that sums up 2009 in news stories, by showing each major story as a block in relative size to their importance.

7 – I already teach stance and how to hold the camera to my students, but I’ve never thought about teaching it like marksmanship.  Great idea.

8 – A lot of studies recently have shown that in the last 10 years internet use is up.  Really?  Wow.  Of course it is, there is so much more rich content available now then even just 2-3 years ago.

9 – This post is about brainstorming for bloggers, but I’d say these are great rules for brainstorming in nearly any area, especially yearbook and media classes.

10 – If you don’t have a staff application, you should get one for your yearbook, newspaper, broadcast or other class.  And it’s time to move into the online realm – how about an application made with Google Docs?

11 – I love TED Talks and this one is a really great one:  It’s not about the perfect Pepsi, it’s about the perfect Pepsi’s. This is what I’ve been saying about yearbooks for a while.  We need to stop making the Pepsi yearbook.  We need the flexibility to make a Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Slice and even more yearbooks.  With print on demand technology, the yearbook companies need to roll out flexible yearbooks before even more kids stop buying books.

12 – Where did everybody go?  They are no longer going to web pages, but to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube/Hulu.

13 – DSLRs are tough.  This Canon Rebel fell 3000 feet and lived to keep working.

Canon Rebel Falls and Survives

Canon Rebel Falls and Survives

14 – I’ve been looking for this for a long time – a film maker’s dictionary of terms.  Useful if you’ve worked in TV, but only dreamed about movies.

15 – If you’ve ever thought about creating a blog, you should read these 7 Secrets of Edubloging from Free Tech for Teachers – a great award winning site.

16 – I really like reading the new Texas Tribune online news site started just this year.  The Trib is a must read for Texas teachers, because education spending is the largest item in the state budget, so you can bet we take up our part of Texas politics and the Trib covers it.  This article on the divisions between the teaching organizations in Texas was interesting to a 15 year vet who never knew why we had so many.

17 – Again from the 2 Cents Worth blog, what was computing like in 2000 vs. 2010.  We’ve come a long way.

18 – Always funny – 50 Biggest flubs of the Year in Headline writing.  My favorite:

Chance of Rain

Chance of Rain

19 – As we move into a new decade, the Newsosaur says we need to emulate the journalists of the 19th Century, not the 20th.  Muckrakers of the world unite!

20 – Teach Paperless has a list of 21 Things that will become obsolete in the next decade in education.  Lets hope teachers are not one of those things.

21 – Finally, Scott McLeod recently spoke to the NEA and had some interesting things to say.  He recorded both his speech and the Q&A that followed, both are worth a listen.  I only have two criticisms of what he said.  1) He never answered the question of HOW do we get legislatures, Congress and school boards to start spending money in the right places and move the curriculum forward.  2) He also never gave a good answer to what do people do who are not able to master higher level thinking skills after we move to an information/creativity economy.

Unfortunately with all the holiday eating, I’m up to +3.  Ouch.

Cool Links #71: The One With Holidays, Yearbook Pages and Dreams of Snow

It’s been a long semester, but we’re finally at Christmas Break and we have sold a few more books than last year.  We also have more pages done than ever before.  And finally, last night I had a dream of more snow in Houston.  Not likely I know, so I’ll have to deliver a blizzard of links.

1 – While 2009 may not have been a wonderful year for most, it was a great year for photography.  The Boston Globe has a terrific slide show of more than 40 iconic photos of the year.

Barack Obama sworn in as US President

Barack Obama sworn in as US President

2 – Madatoms.com has a graphic that shows the past, present and future decline of journalism.  As terrible as your worst post-apocalyptic science fiction nightmare.

3 – The Digital Photography School just keeps posting photo nuggets for us to all enjoy and use, like 10 Reasons to Turn Off Your Auto Focus.

4 – The whole post is being written using Google Chrome browser for OSX, but of course you can already get it for Windows (XP/Vista).  Not sure why it is not available for Windows 7 yet?    It’s fast and I’ve had few crashes.  To me it is the best of Safari and Firefox.

5 – Next up is an 8 minute video of newspaper headlines that have appeared in The Simpsons.  Funny.

6 – My Canadian friend, author of Notes From A Teacher, has an insightful list of 10 Things that His (journalism) Students Need To Keep In Mind.  Best takeaway – 10. There are many more than 10 things that you need to keep in mind.

7 – Graphjam, always fun, but often insightful had this juicy nugget about where cable news is today.

CNN Take Note

CNN Take Note

8 – These are a cool Christmas gift (And if anyone wants to send me one I won’t complain) keyboard skins for applications.  I’d love one for Final Cut Express.

Keyboard Skins For Apps

Keyboard Skins For Apps

9 – Thank you The Economist for putting teeth into the argument against pay-walls.   I’ve been saying for the last two years that I would never buy an online news subscription or pay micropayments for news because I read TOO MANY newspapers online.  The only way I’d ever consider paying, would be if I could pay a single small monthly fee ($5-7 US a month) that would allow me to read ALL the newspapers, or if they ALL joined one service where I could pay a small fee to read.

10 – Cyberdotnet blog says there will be journalists in the future. I agree.  We just won’t work for “the man.”  Journalists will have to be freelancers who work for many news organizations, plus produce content for their own branded site.

11 – The Teacher Chronicles puts forth 20 Ways You Can Upgrade to Become a Teacher 2.0.  Best Takeaway – 16. Ask your students what they do on the web! Make a list of the websites they mention and make sure you check them out!

12 – I’ve been watching a thread on the Teachpaperless blog about the wonders of technology and what they can do to replace schools and even teachers.  But The Teacher Chronicles has a list of Six Things Technology Can’t Do For You.

13 – I recently lamented the speed and capacity of the Internet service at my school, but in other ways we’ve done a good job at keeping up with technology.  I really agree with this post from The Teacher Chronicles of 11 Ways To Upgrade Your School into School 2.0.

14 – I am a huge fan of Black and White Photography, here are 40 Beautiful Examples of why it rocks!

Big Ben from Metro

Big Ben from Metro

Hope this finds you and yours having a wonderful holiday season.  I’m still at +/- zero.

Faster Internet for LOLz of Course

I was listening to Leo Laporte’s show TWIT the other day and he said something about “Cyber Monday.”  That is the made-up Monday after Black Friday.  Supposedly back in the ’90s and early 2000s, people would go to work on Monday to their “fast” internet connection and then find deals online.

What got me thinking is that I do remember the days of dial up internet at home and how frustrating it was to shop online before the days of DSL.  And I also remember going to school to download large files from fellow teachers and others.  Often I would have people email them to my school account because it was too laborious to download them from home.  Often these files were for work anyway, but I would transfer them to a ZIP (100MB) disk to take home to read/use later.

ZIP Disk

Now, we are in the opposite mode.  My home connection is often way faster than my work internet.  I find myself forwarding large files to my personal email to download at home and then bring to school on a USB (4GB) stick.  I also find myself searching for resources at home because so many blogs, web 2.0 sites and wikis are blocked by the school’s filter.

When did we get so backward in the education world?  Yes, we have much more tech in my classroom and my school than we did 10 years ago.  But in comparison to what most people have in their homes, in their backpack (laptop) or on their phone – we are falling behind in tech.  We are falling behind in the speed and capabilities of our tech.  At my school we still use Windows XP.  With the release of Windows 7, we are now two full operating systems behind.  It is the same in my Mac lab, where we still use CS2 InDesign and OSX 10.4 Tiger.  Snow Leopard has been out for a while now (OSX 10.6).  MS Office 2003

I have students bring me docx files all the time.  As far as I know, we do not have a computer on campus that can open that file.  We are using Office 2003, which is now six years old.  Sure it still works, but to most students it must seem nearly as old fashioned as an IBM Selectric.  IBM Selectric

I wonder how bad it will have to get before we do finally move forward.  When will educators finally get tired of being able to do more with their phone than their work computer?

Ten years ago I had email at work, and one at home that barely worked well.  I had a dial-up connection at home that got 33.3 Mps on a good day a 10-Base T Internet connection via Ethernet at school.  I had an old Mac at home that could barely access the Internet.  (an old LCII I think).  But at school, we had two brand new Macs and 6-8 older ones that all accessed the ‘net at a decent speed.  They were all running OS8.5 or OS9, while at home I think I just barely updated to OS8.0.

Kids must come to school and think – how quaint, an old computer.  Some days I wonder if we should just start running DOS again as slow as our network can run.

I know that updating all of a district’s computers (we have 27 campuses) and software would be very expensive.  I don’t doubt that is a huge issue.  But what’s the cost of a student who is being educated to use tools that are already obsolete by today’s standards?  Never mind tomorrow’s.  I don’t have the answers.  I wish somebody did.

I guess I’ll just have to go home and view some high speed LOLz.

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