Cool Links #27: Busy Week Edition

It has been a busy week.  We are on Spring Break right now, but I will likely have to go in to the school tomorrow and resend eight yearbook pages to the plant.  But even still, we are done with the book.  Happiness will now ensue.

On a personal note, we are getting new floor at the house this week and will have finally finished our Ike and post-Ike repairs.  At a cost of nearly $40,000.  Thank goodness insurance paid for more than half of that. Now, on to the links.

1) I really enjoyed this video from such an earnest young voice.  The only difference is that people go to the library by choice and go to school by force. Maybe that’s part of the problem?

2) Here’s a fun site to show students the power of photoshop without needing photoshop.  InStyle magazine has a Hollywood Hair Makeover flash game.  It is incredible the power of this little flash game.  I’m still not sure if I want to show my yearbook girls where it is though.  LOL

3) has an interesting post of 100 photos taken at unusual angles.  It is fun, but not all are safe for school.  I do plan on sharing some of the better ones with my students to demonstrate how to look for humor when taking photos.  And I am adding the site’s blog to my Google Reader feed.

4) I don’t currently have Adobe Photoshop CS4, but I am hoping to get it next year.  Unfortunately PS7 does not work with the next tip.  But I want it on my blog for that someday…  The digital Photography School has a wonderful post on how to keep track of your steps when creating a cool effect.  I know I wish I could do this already.

5) This one is just plain fun, but I think can also be used as a teaching tool.  I plan to use the Period Table of Typefaces next year when teaching font families to my desktop publishing kids.

6) I also hope to add some journalism content to the Quizlet site if it is not blocked at my school.  This site lets you create flashcards online so kids can learn vocabulary terms quickly, easily and at their own pace.  The site was featured on the Seedlings podcast and was created by a high school student when he was 15.

7) The GenoPal Pic2Color scheme creator is definitely going to be added to both my web design and desktop publishing tool bags.  It makes a color scheme in Hex colors from a photo.  Simple, but effective.

8 ) If there is only one survivor of the online news recession, let’s hope it is the New York Times.  They have such great interactive graphics, like this one about immigration patterns.  That is how you display complex data sets in an easy to understand manner.

9) This is how I feel sometimes –

Clean Cables - You're Doing It Wrong!

Clean Cables - Your Doing It Wrong!

this week I spent about four hours after school cleaning up all the cables of our macs in the lab.  Too many kids had come to me in the last month or so and complained of a lost project due to a cable being kicked loose or an Ethernet connection lost.

10) Again we go back to the digital Photography School for an article on panning.  I find this as useful for my photography students as I do for my broadcast journalism kids. Panning and follow shots are a touch skill to master for both still and moving photographers.

11) John Costilla shared this on Classroom 2.0, but I found it hard to read, so I’m going to repeat it in text.  It is seven guidelines for educators for the 21st Century.

-Don’t throw technology into the classroom and just hope for good things to happen.

-Cut back on lectures

-Empower students to collaborate

-Focus on lifelong learning, not teaching to the test

-Use technology to get to know each student

-Design educational programs according to the eight norms

-Reinvent yourself as a teacher, professor and educator

I like the last one the best.  Most of the others are good, but the last one is probably the most important.  We have to keep learning if we are to be authentic as teachers.  We can’t expect our students to be learners until they see that we too are continuing our learning.

12) As a teacher from a Title I school (nearly 80 percent of our students get free or reduced lunch) I understand how important it is to make sure that students get everything they need to be ready for school.  The Blessings in a Backpack program is not one I had heard of before, but it looks like a cool idea.  Give kids food to take home for the weekend, so they and their family can have real meals to eat.  This will only improve the student’s ability to focus on school work come Monday morning, but also give the school a positive connection to the home.  I am not the biggest Sammy Hagar fan alive, but I think it is very cool that the Red Rocker is giving his time and money to this worthwhile cause.

13) Maximum PC has a great post called Six Totally Essential Photoshop Skills Even Your Mom Should Know.  So of course we should be teaching them to our students.  The six skills are:  Using Action Scripts to Batch Resize, Making Friends With The Pen Tool, Using Levels To Color Correct, Removing Red Eye and Flash Spots, Restoring Scans of Old B/W Photos, and Using The Clone Tool.

14) The Telegraph has a wonderful article about the artist Caravaggio, who they now believe used a Camera Obscura and a primitive photo sensitive mixture to record images he would later paint.  Very cool.

15) The Music for Media blog has a list of tips for improving your voice over recordings.  Mostly about keeping the noise out.

16) Video2Zero has a great list of 7 ways to edit your footage better.  My favorite is numero uno – Cut Tight.

17) This looks like so much fun.  I’ve seen this meme several places on the Internet.  It could be a fun project for the yearbook staff to do in the Spring when the book is done.  Take old photos of your town and hold them up, find the right angle and the right street and then shoot a new shot of the street as it is today.

18) BarelyFitz Designs has several interactive and easy to use CSS lessons like how to use CSS positioning.

19) I thought this was an interesting article about charging for journalism online, from the Neiman Journalism Lab called If They Won’t Pay For Facebook

20) I ran across a new blog PLOMOMEDIA by Stephen Thompson and the best part is Steve’s short videos on Grammar.  He is young, hip and fun – and still cares about grammar.  He is also on YouTube.

21) It seems strange that a comptuer magazine is the one that has to tell journalists to get local.  Computerworld has a well thought out article on how local is the new global.  Basically another retelling of niche.  Niche is everything.

Wow, I hope I haven’t bored anyone to death.  What a long list.  Now, I have cleaning to do before Tuesday – new floor day!


  1. Ugh – there are several things I want to comment on – but first, the video:

    We can very clearly see the costs of compulsory education. Do people really think that the costs outweigh the benefits?

    I can totally see splinter groups lobbying for education to be “a right, not a requirement.” Or even “a privilege, not a right.”

    Also, most libraries I know “segregate” books. (Although they call it ‘organization.’)

    Do we still truly believe in education for all? Even for those who don’t “deserve it?”

    • I agree that mandating kids go to school past a certain age is a farce. I think that schools would be more orderly, less discipline based places if we could just tell kids at 15 or 16 that they didn’t have to come unless they WANTED to graduate. But of course we still need to maintain that most jobs required a high school or college diploma. Make them WANT to come to school first, then you can educate them. Not sure this would work in the early grades, but leave that up to their parents.

      Sure, libraries organize books, but they don’t tell kids that they are not allowed to check out books outside the kids or juvenile section. At least they don’t at my library. I do remember when I was a kid that you had to be 12 to get an “adult” library card. Until then you could only choose from the kids or juvenile section. But my son has the same library card I do, no restrictions.

  2. if we could just tell kids at 15 or 16 that they didn’t have to come unless they WANTED to graduate

    we do this, don’t we? it’s called dropping out. ;p

    but yeah, it’s pretty highly frowned on. Though these days, so is choosing not to go to college right away.

    which some people shouldn’t!

    • Yeah, I think the British do it better with a gap year. I sometimes wish I had done it. I went to college at 17 and I surely wasn’t ready. Took me five years to graduate. Might have finished in four years with a gap year to mature a little.

  3. I might have taken some time off if I hadn’t had scholarships. I would’ve lost them if I didn’t enroll as a full-time student within a certain time period.

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