Cool Links #98: The One That Took Two Weeks To Finish

‘Twas the night before school and all through the house, the kids were sad, and so were the teachers.  Not really, but it makes a good scene.  Both children and teachers in this house are ready to go back – mostly.  So, here’s a few last minute links to bide you over the first day back.  Mine is tomorrow.

[Editor's note:  I started this post last Sunday, the night before the first day of school.  I'm finishing it seven days later.  It was a long week - can you tell?]

1 – Journalists in the 21st Century really MUST be jacks-of-all-trades, so says the hiring practices of most media organizations.  Honestly, I was getting this advice back in 1988 – so, really is this a surprise?

2 – Net Neutrality is all the rage right now – thanks Google, you surrender monkeys.  Read, Write, Web has a super graphic with 15 facts about Net neutrality.

3 – More than any other mathematical concept, the Golden Ratio has my attention.  I love the many ways that the ratio is represented in art, music, architecture, nature and more.  It is a divine concept.

4 – The Beaumont, Texas office of Taylor Publishing (Balfor now?) has a cool resource site – check it out!

5 – Tamron video wants to help you use your Flash better in Episode 12 of their continuing series of photography videos.

6 – Free Tech 4 Teachers has a list of 140 user generated ideas for things that teachers are going to try in their classrooms this year.  I’m in the slideshow (yea me!) and I’m going to try Moodle.  My district has started it’s own Moodle site.  I really like it so far.

7 – I stumbled upon DigitalRev after watching a great stress test video that pitted a Nikon vs. a Canon camera.  DigitalRev has a Youtube channel and a great blog too.  I’ve added them to my RSS and Youtube subs.

8 – The Principal’s Page had a great graphic timeline of the History of the Internet.  Huge!

9 – Gizmodo had a good companion to the last link – The Secret History of those $%&@ing Computer Symbols.  My favorite is – of course the Mac Command symbol.

10 – According to Wired Magazine – The Web is Dead:  Long Live the Internet. It’s a Pro vs. Con on the walled gardens or suburbia of the internet – phone apps.

11 – After the Exposure Triangle – dPs wants us to get a little more advanced with our thinking about the exposure triangle = meaning aperture is more than just more light.

12 – The Internet gets news out faster and better right?  Not when Twitter punks the news.  Rumors can run rampant and then CNN and others actually report fake news stories.  Oh Dang, can you say retraction.   And in a related post, The Chive, punked us all with Dry Erase girl.  Supposedly she quit her job with a series of photos posted on a photo sharing site, telling all about her boss.  But alas, it was just a hoax – it did come from the Onion-like Chive site.  Duh.

13 – The Kobrechannel has a list of Five Things They Can’t Believe Every News Video Doesn’t Already Have.  Byline anyone!

14 – The folks over at 2¢Worth are trying to create an innovative online/DVD yearbook mashup.  No printed copy or only as a print on demand product.  I’m interested in seeing how this might work.

15 – Thanks to the Principal’s Page blog for reminding us all of this.  As the year goes by, things get busy and they often get hard.  It’s the hard that makes it great.

16 – I love this. Stickers for the newspaper, with truth in advertising about the news contained inside.  Could be used in yearbook too!  Not as funny as you think.

Quid es Veritas?

Quid es Veritas?

That’s a wrap.

Cool Links #96: The One About Busy-ness

I’ve been busy.  It seems that summer too can be a busy season.  I’ve had meetings and phone calls and my son’s football camp.  Lots to do, lots to do.  So, cool links haven’t bubbled to the top of the to do list until now – nearly a week late.  And to add insult to injury, my read it later password expired and I didn’t notice for several days that items were not being added to my read it list.  So, some cool links have been lost forever.  Sad face.  Here’s the links I’ve been able to add, re-add or just plain found by brute force search.

1 – Teachers At Risk has a top notch post – Nine Things My Students Have Taught Me. If only it were just nine, but a great list.  Best take away - 1. I’ve learned that students need me to be a teacher and not their friend.

2 – And to piggyback on that post, from the same source comes Nine Questions I Ask My Students On The First Day.  Best take away – 1. When have you felt particularly successful in school?

3 – Common Craft has several helpful videos on YouTube for those that teach anything to do with the Web.

4 – The Digital Photography School should be in every media teacher’s RSS reader – because of nuggets like How To Work With Locked Pixels.

5 – Seems like this is a favorite topic right now – extending the school year or eliminating summer vacation.  Time magazine has a long article that goes around the topic, but never really decides what to think.  I see both sides to the argument.  Summer would be very expensive in the south – A/C would run non-stop.  The travel industry would be hurt badly and the traditional vacation plan would have to be rethought.  But there are upsides to changing the summer schedule.  More days in the calendar might take some pressure off and allow more in-depth teaching.  Fewer days off would lessen the effects of lost retention.  But most teachers would want more compensation for more days and it would only be fair.  Plus, as it happened in Texas, you really can’t have just some of the schools go to a year-round schedule and others stay on a traditional one.  It won’t work.  It has to be all or nothing.

6 – Copyright Office says that jailbreaking and re-mixing are OK!  And they said that teachers and students can remix and reuse with few if any restrictions.  Read about it at Free Tech 4 Teachers.  Fair Use Win!

7 – I’ve been looking for a good online “text” for Web Design for a while, and the Web Styleguide is it.  It’s 12 chapters seem to cover all the basic areas that a designer needs to know.  I only wish it were available in a PDF format.

8 – Tamron lenses posted their second video about Photo Composition – give it a look.

9 – I just had to share this – the long weekend theory of summer vacation from An Untenured Teacher.  I’m still hanging on to Saturday, but Sunday morning is just days away.

10 – Teachers At Risk seems to be my favorite blog today – lots of great content, for example How The Web May Be Spoiling Our Students.

11 – This has to be one of the best ideas that has ever been on MTV, since they stopped playing actual music. If You Really Knew Me is a show about a program that focuses on character education in high schools around the country.  I’ve only watch the first episode, but I can see the power that this program could have in almost any school.  Make sure to start with episode 101.

12 – If you are a journalism or media teacher and your students are not publishing online, then you definitely need to read the Innovative Educator’s post about Sticking It To the Man and Publish Online.

13 – OK, be honest – how many of you have had a broadcast, newspaper issue or  yearbook that ended up like this?

Insert Image Title Here

Insert Image Title Here

14 – Peta Pixel blog has a great post about a music video made for $500 done in one take.  Not only is the video cool, but they also have a behind the scenes video too.

15 – Why do they do it?  Why do photojournalists doctor photos and then claim they just mistakenly sent in the wrong image?  Seems like there is a lot of it going around right now and BP just can’t seem to do anything right.

16 – Worried that photos you post to the internet will end up on a billboard, or in an ad somewhere and you didn’t get paid or even a photo credit?  Google is releasing a new service called TinEye – a reverse image search, so you can find out if your photos are being used somewhere else.

17 – Want some advanced InDesign and Photoshop Tips for Yearbook – The Yearbook Connection has a great resource page.  Check it out.

18 – If you are from Texas and you don’t know Hal Schmidt, then you need to meet him.  He works in Houston for the office of Taylor Publishing, and he knows his tech.  His page has all kinds of great resources and teaching tips.  Hal is your Pal.

19 – I love these A to Z yearbook terminology cards.  I am going to download them all – thanks Yearbook Ladies.

20 – Is solo reporting too much for reporters, with the always on deadline 24/7/365 news cycle?  The Journalism Classroom Notebook thinks that today’s journalists are likely to face lots of burnout and possibly change to other careers more quickly.

21 – Black Star Rising blog has a superb review of the history of the First Amendment and why it is so important to keep defending it today.

Wow, I guess I had more links than I thought – of course now I won’t have anything for Sunday!  lol.  I hope you are still enjoying your time off – I start back at school on Aug. 16 (no students until Aug. 23).  Hoping to enjoy my last few weeks off.

Cool Links #94: The One About The Midpoint

Here in most of Texas, we are about mid-way through the summer.  And for many of us, summer will end early because of back to work tasks that can’t wait – like getting all the computers hooked up and running, taking football/band/cheerleader pictures and meeting with the new yearbook rep.  All things we yearbook teachers do off-the-clock and unpaid.  No one has any idea how many hours of unpaid work go into being a yearbook teacher.  Our stipends don’t even come close.  We work from before the year starts until long after it ends and get a stipend that pales in comparison to the lowliest coach.  But, enough about that.  On to the links:

1 – Here is a collection of sad graphics about the decline of the news industry – focusing on the last three years called A Quick Primer on the US News Industry.

2 – Thanks to the Principal’s Page Blog2 for this photo – it really brings to life the computing revolution:  size, price and power ready to take anywhere.  I really miss my old Bondi Blue iMac.  But I love my new iMac even more.  We retired our last bubble iMac from the lab this year – it was 8 years old and still going as a printer server.

iMac v iPad

iMac v iPad

3 – This is a great article for any young, would-be journalist at either the college or high school level to read.  Thanks Ms. Yada, I hope the job search is going well.

4 – OK, yes clip art is so, like the ’90s.  But sometimes you really need a good piece of clip art for a powerpoint presentation.  Here is a royalty free clip art site for teachers.   As always, check the guidelines before reproducing anything.

5 – I’m incensed about the BP oil spill in the gulf.  As of this week, tar balls have been sighted on Galveston beaches.  Just like the Louisiana gulf coast, East Texas gulf coast was hit by hurricanes Rita, Katrina and Ike.  Many coastal towns live on tourist dollars in the summer months to feed them all year long.  Others from shrimping and fishing.  The last thing these towns need is the oil disaster that BP has unleashed upon us all.  The whole gulf coast is feeling it, but BP and the White House keep lowballing the problem and trying to keep journalist from seeing the real devastation.  I hope brave photogs and video crews keep thwarting the rent-a-cops and Coast Guard to publish photos that keep the disaster fresh in our minds.

6 – Here is where our industry is heading, as ad dollars keep shrinking and publications close, those few that remain will be more beholden to the ad money they still get.  This is especially true for trade publications – those magazines that cover a single industry, or group of related industries.  A reporter for Motorcyclist Magazine was allegedly fired because he did a story critical of a major sponsor – a helmet maker.  Who will be watching the watchers?

7 – This confirms something I’ve know for a while, minorities use the mobile web (smart phones/laptops/netbooks) more than Anglos.  I suspect it is because phones and netbooks are cheaper than a traditional desktop or high-end laptop and provide the user the mobility to seek out wifi at places like McDonalds, the public library, schools, Starbucks, etc.  That is a powerful combination for those who don’t own a home (rent) or have a need to be mobile due to their work (truck drivers, construction workers, seasonal laborers, etc.).  I think this is an important finding for those who wish to market to minority groups (yearbook).  You have to go where the customers are – online via mobile.

8 – Everyone has a story.  Eight million people live in the NYC area, each one has a story.  This is a great way to show your student journalists how to get personality profiles.

9 – If you don’t have great video of the event, then you need great storytelling/standups.  The ever-great Kaplitz blog has a superb example.

10 – I ran across this little tidbit while working on a lesson about Matthew Brady – how photos were made in the 1860s.

11 – If you create a web site, then you should validate the code.  This helps to make sure that your page is compliant with all web standards – All Web Design Info has a list of several sites to do just that.

12 – Working with type on the web?  Then you need these Six Super Helpful Typography Cheat Sheets.

13 – Here’s another resource for teachers wanting to learn the Google tools for your classroom – a 33 page guide from Free Tech 4 Teachers.

14 – And we wonder why journalists are held in such low regard and no one wants to pay for our work?  It is no wonder when well-respected publications keep violating the most basic of ethical standards – don’t modify photos.

Economist modifies photo of Obama

Economist modifies photo of Obama

15 – Want to use a popular song in a YouTube video, but you don’t want to pay an arm and a leg for the rights.  Now you can – Rumblefish is a service that is supposed to sell the musical rights to video creators who want to post to YouTube.  The rights are usually between $2-25 for a song and are only good for YouTube.  Try it out and let me know how it went.

16 – What makes a great teacher? No one thing, maybe these 12 things each contribute to being a great teacher – I think number 5 and 6 are pretty important.

17 – I’m always looking for more of these Photos That Changed The World to add to my collection.  Some great ones in this collection – Ghandi and Brady.

Keep having a great summer.  I just finished an 8 hour InDesign CS4 tutorial that took me about two weeks to complete – up next Photoshop, then Flash.

Cool Links #93: The One About Independence Day

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”  If only we could live up to these ideals.  But the first link today shows that we don’t.

1 – The First Amendment is dead.  Just ask Anderson Cooper.  Link via ShortForm Blog.

2 – If you live in Boston,  it may be too much to visit USC or if you are in Washington, then University of Miami is a long commute for a campus visit.  But youniversitytv can help your student get a look at a far away campus they are considering for a college choice.

3 – The Journal Register Company, a small chain of 18 publications is now running it’s entire operation open source.  Check it out at the Ben Franklin Project.  Freedom of the Press is for those who own the presses.  The Press is now FREE!

4 – I hate the pen tool.  In photoshop, illustrator, etc.  I don’t like it.  I don’t get it.  All Web Design Info wants to change that and help me and you learn how to control the pen tool.

5 – Don’t know how to post a video to YouTube?  It’s only seven basic steps away.

6 – Google Apps For Education has some training available for you at the right price – FREE! Learn all the basics for all the Ed Apps.  And then get certified.

7 – Royalty Free music is hard to come by – Adam Westbrook has Five Places for Cheap or Free Music for your video project.

8 – On a day when Freedom is supposed to ring, we are hearing the slow death of freedom.  At a time where nearly everyone carries a camera with them every day in their pocket, a photographer was harassed for trying to shoot video in Miami.  You have to watch this.  I can’t believe this is America, sounds more like the Soviet Union to me – “where are your papers, comrade?”  What scares me the most is that nobody seems to care.

9 – Maybe we need to show this to everyone!

10 – All Web Design Info has a simple series of graphics that explain how CSS3 Properties work.

11 – Great advice for young, starting off journalists from 10,000 words blog.  My advice via my j-prof:  “Get the secretary to like you.  The world is run by the secretaries.”  Best advice since my high school band director – “If you’re early, you’re on time.  If you’re on time, you’re late.”

12 – The Denver Post followed one kid from high school graduation to boot camp, to Iraq and back.  Great photo story telling.

13 – Not sure where I found this presentation about HTML 5, but make sure you start on slide 16 and skip the Java Script stuff unless you need to know about that too.

14 – Adventures in Pencil Integration has Six Lies We Tell Ourselves about Technology.  The biggest lies we teachers tell ourselves is:  If only I had this piece of technology or software, then everything would go smoothly in my classroom.

Have a happy Independence Day.

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 #82: The One Where Global Warming Made Us Colder

OK, I’m just a journalist and so not qualified to comment on weighty scientific topics like global warming, but here in Houston, we’ve had the sixth coldest winter on record.  And we were just feeling spring-like and now it is feeling positively wintery again.  So, as long as it’s cold outside, we might as well fire up the computers and read some cool links.

1 – As the proud owner of a new Mac lab, I sometimes forget that most of the world uses an operating system from Redmond, Washington (Windows).  So, for those who might have a new Mac or end up teaching in a school with a Mac Lab – here’s a great site for learning all things newby Mac users need to know – Mac For Beginners.  It takes you through all the steps of OSX (that’s O – S – Ten or the tenth Mac operating system).

2 – Smashinglists has this post on the Top 25 Historic Photographs ever taken.  I admit to often being a little US-centric when talking about famous photos, but this one has a number from Europe especially, including my favorite in this collection – Hitler in Paris.  That particular photo really denotes the sadness of Nazi Germany being in charge of the cultural heritage of much of Europe.

Hitler In Paris

The sadness of Paris under the Nazi jackboot.

3 – This has to be one of the best videos from Bob Kaplitz’s blog, and that is saying a lot.  This video focuses on ways to make standups more creative.

4 – Great cartoon – How NOT to Save Newspapers.

5 – Straight from Google, How Search Works.

6 – If you work in a typical American school, then your internet is likely to be filtered and slow.  This means no Youtube.  So, how can you share youtube videos with your students?  If you are like me and use Google Chrome broswer, then you might want to add this to your browser – a method of downloading videos.

7 – Random Mumblings blog brings us Jeff Cole via Beet.tv to discuss how video is expanding to fill every niche in the content spectrum.

Beet TV Video Expanding

Beet TV Video Expanding

8 – Photojournalism From A Student’s Eye brings us more Photoshop for Reporters – Color Correction with Levels.

He also brings us another podcast tutorial for Final Cut on Transitions and Fades.

9 – Here’s a great history project for web design students – 15 Websites that Changed the Internet.  It has it all, from Facebook to Geocitites.

10 – The Bellringer has just about had it with yearbook staff members who can’t make deadline.  I feel her pain.  How do we get kids to become self-motivating, internally driven to finish work on time?  Ideas?

Well, ten is a nice round number, but not as round as Pi.  Pi day was a couple of days ago.  Yes, I’m a geek for knowing that.

Cool Links #75: The One I Nearly Forgot To Title

We just got our whole shipment of brand new iMacs in at school.  They are pretty, but setting them up is a full time job.  We have 22 new machines and they have to be updated and install Final Cut Express on them first.  In the next couple of weeks we should be getting Adobe CS4 products.  That means more time installing and then setting up the student login account.  Finally we can then switch out all the Mac Minis.  The new machines are so fast and have incredible, huge screens.  So far, the only downside is the wireless mouse and keyboard.  This will mean checking them out each period.  Lost instruction time.  But the cool factor is going to be worth it.  Now, on to the links.

1 – If you teach newspaper or journalism, then you know how difficult it is to get students to write opinion pieces well.  Here’s a great presentation to teach the way to do it right.

2 – Ever had another department want you to shoot their event, edit it, create videos for them and make DVDs too.  And of course they want you to do it all for free.  That’s a lot of wear and tear on the equipment.  I’m not against creating video or any other media for any department, but if it is not news – then we need to charge for our services.  But how much?  I used the FreelanceSwitch Hourly Rate Calculator and it actually gave me a realistic result – $50/hour.  Try it out yourself.

3 – Yearbooks, newspapers, graphic design and video makers all need fonts that are royalty freed.  Here are a couple of sites that offer fonts that you can use.  Dafont.com and Font Squirrel offer contemporary font looks for all your needs.

4 – SF Weekly says we don’t pay for news online because we mainly view it on our work computers Monday-Friday and that we would rather read a real hard copy paper on the weekends.

5 – Straight from the UK, Charlie Brooker has this hilarious sendup of the typical news story.

6 – Photographers have to deal with a dizzying array of alphabet soup:  PNG, JPG, TIFF, PSD, RAW – what does it all mean?  The dPS is always quick with an answer for every photo question.

7 – Natural sound stories can be very powerful ways to sell a story that has strong sound elements.  Advancing the Story blog has a superb list of tips for nat-sound.

8 – Free Tech for Teachers has a super useful post about how to add an RSS feed for any web site in Google Reader.

9 – Adam Westbrook has Five Myths about Shooting Video.  My favorite is Shooting Video is Easy!

10 – The Bob Kaplitz blog is always full of great example videos, both of the what to do variety and the what not to to type.

11 – The Oatmeal comic blog is funny, crazy and a grammarian.  This month it is the semicolon that takes center stage.  Great fun for kids – and they might learn something too.

12 – Tamron lenses has their episode 2 in their DSLR series about focus modes.

Well, I’m going to watch the ‘semi-‘pro Bowl now.  Have a great week.

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