130 posts categorized "Photography"

January 14, 2015

Engage, Inspire, Empower - language learning and technology

I got back to being a language teacher last night, doing a quick talk and then conversation with some of the teachers participating in our Malta Better Learning with Technologies groupHere is the video of the talk, where I was inspired by the instant nature of understanding we gain from the cartoons we've seen over the past week:

  • The universal language of image
  • The growth of the image thanks to technology - Insta...everything
  • The move of technology's dominance in text (blogs and podcasts of 2005) to image (YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat in 2015)
  • How do we play the whole game of learning, every day, in the language classroom?
  • What S.T.A.R. moments do we create for our students to amplify the meaning of what we're doing?
  • Can we inform students later, and start with the why of engagement, inspiration and then empowering through information and the 'how'?
  • "Real world" does not mean we have to take every student on a foreign exchange visit. Real world is no longer the long-term relationships we had to build with partner schools in 2005. Real world can be short-term reaching out to someone, just for a lesson, for a moment, to gather an empathy for how others might think.
  • Real world can also be imaginative - video games as a stimulus for writing, or TED talks for stimulus in reading and listening (and speaking!).

November 03, 2011

LA class seeks augmented reality help: apply within

Paula Cohen, from Los Angeles, has the kernel of an art project idea for her class. When she told me about it, it felt like an augmented reality twist might make it come true. I can see the concept, but lack the technology skills to see how to pull it off. I'm hoping someone reading this blog might be able to share their expertise and ideas on how to make a living graffiti project come alive. Here is Paula's original email, published with her permission:

I have this project I have been wanting to get off the ground with my students.   I was visiting SPARC this summer and it came up of how there is a current ban on murals in Los Angeles going back to some signage legislation that was intended for corporations.

A local drive entails passing a multitude of billboards, many digital, flashing distractive messages and sales.  That is when I got this idea to help young people reimagine their communities.

What if they could take a series of digital photos of their communities and through a program like photoshop and  deep conversation, they could transform their communities on screen into what they imagined.

For example: lawns could turn into food gardens, billboards could become PSA's and murals, each corner could have a youth center, etc.  (Ok, that's my imagination!)   Do you have any ideas?

Thank you, Paula

In my mind it's something with Layar that could work best, and I've shared my small selection of AR links with Paula in the hope there's some inspiration in there. But what would you do?

October 20, 2011

Our class of 10,000 students from 127 countries lasting 21 days

ITUWorld11kids - image

How many creativity gurus have you heard this past year talking about the overarching potential of our young people to solve the problems of tomorrow? Well, we thought we'd see just how good they are at solving those problems.

The photograph at the top of this post is just one example of how young people care about other people many thousands of miles away and want to make their lives better - produced in the last period of a long day in Iowa. You can read more of them on the world2011.us site.

Sure, it's just a piece of marketing. But it sums up weeks of work they've put in to harnessing design thinking to explore, synthesise and hone down problems they believe they could solve. And this past week, they've been prototyping their ideas for solving them.

Over the past 21 days, with the immense support of the UN agency for ICT, the International Telecommuncations Union (ITU), m'colleague Tom Barrett and I have been trying to make good our promise that we could bring 10,000 young people along, virtually, to "the most important ICT event in the world".

ITU Telecom World 11 gathers nearly 2500 of the world's Heads of State, CEOs of all the global telecommunications firms and policy wonks from South America to South Africa, Southampton to the Hamptons. We set up a campaign site to involve over four times the number of delegates (at perhaps four times less their average age ;-) to see whether their ideas collided or parted at their very roots. The goals were several:

  • provoke the speakers into speaking in 'normal', jargon-free language, conscious that 10,000 young people were trying to get a grasp on the issues that will affect them more, perhaps, than said experts on stage;
  • see if young people genuinely cared about solving what the UN has outlined as its key challenges, such as decreasing poverty and hunger, increasing access to education for all, improving gender equality and so on...
  • see if they cared enough and if their teachers, increasingly confined by State requirements to "cover the curriculum", were fired up enough to break through the pedagogical red tape and create opportunities for their students to find real problems that need solving, and then go on to propose genuine, workable solutions.

Within 21 days I can confirm one thing: never underestimate what young people are capable of.

As we head into the conference week (follow on the Twitter hashtag of #world11kids for all things young-people-related, and #ituworld11 for the wider conference coverage) I'm thrilled at what we're going to be revealing to delegates through plasma screens and projections, revealing what our class of 10,000 has achieved this past three weeks.

We're also going to see hundreds of them now participating live on the podium through Twitter as Secretary-Generals, CEOs, Heads of State and inventors of the switches that make the web work seek out the concerns and ideas of 8-18 year olds around the globe.

You want problem-based learning? This kinda fits the bill. I can't wait to unpack with our teachers and schools how on earth they've managed to achieve so much with so little time and such epic challenges to solve. It's not too late to get involved... what's holding you back?

August 05, 2010

HistoryPin shows students how much things have (sometimes) changed

Leith Walk Tram Building HistoryPin
HistoryPin lets users see historical photos placed up against current day street views, revealing how much their local area - or historical places - have changed over time.

The online service brings to normal Joes like you and me the power that we've seen demonstrated in the exclusive confines of TED talks in the past. Now, anyone can take advantage of this superb technology, which matches the topography of the photograph with the real world topography from Google Streetview.

I was amused to take a peak at my local area, seeing that the roadworks we've had lengthen our commutes for the past few years were experienced 150 years ago, for exactly the same reasons: building tram lines. (See the pic above, or explore it in HistoryPin).

January 28, 2009

Obama's inauguration - one second in 1000 photosynthed photos

The very moment Obama was inaugurated over 1000 images were captured and stitched together to create a navigable, zoomable, flyover-able capture of that second. Microsoft's Photosynth put to practice so we can all say we were there on the CNN site.

January 20, 2009

All my movements in one page

Ewan's Travel Report It's as if I owned one-and-a-half hummers, apparently, my travel for one year. This poster chart for a year of travel highlights is lovely touch from the lads at Dopplr. Click the image to view the full version.

December 26, 2008

Internet Memes - the timelines

Internet Memes So you've done your YouTube anthropology class, you now need to spend a bit of time brushing up on history's internet memes with these delightful, entertaining and "was it really that long ago?" moments. A nice way to start rounding off the year...

November 23, 2008

The fascists' names are leaked... crowdsourcing finds its place

BNP Heatmap Earlier this week the UK's very own "Nationalist Party", the BNP, had the misfortune to leak its member list, showing the names and addresses of racists, fascists and those who "don't want that kind of person taking our jobs". It's been citizen-created mashups of this data that have made the news.

To republish the list would be illegal, so newspapers such as the Guardian printed the numerical stats on line-art maps. Far from breaking the law, it was crowdsourcing that came up with a better solution, both allowing us to see how many BNP-ers are on our doorstep without revealing their names and exact locations. Cue the anonymous, but powerful, BNP member Google Heatmap, which has since allowed our Government ministers to realise the pockets where local politics lets people down.

These are some of the subversive uses of technology that keep an eye on money and power that we are keen to support further through 4iP. We've got a few on the boil, so keep your eyes peeled for them.

Thanks to Stuart on the 38minutes blog for highlighting it.

November 16, 2008

World War One in colour

It's a week late, perhaps, for some topical teaching but astounding nevertheless. Der Spiegel has published several collections of old colour photos, but this set of WW1 trench warfare in colour just reminds us that the world wasn't played out in black and white before the 50s.

June 30, 2008

Why would you use words on the screen when they do just fine in your mouth?

David Jakes and Dean Shareski show us that it's not just what you say, but how you say it. It's 21 years since PowerPoint was invented, 21 years since we've had to relearn how we communicate, to get away from the bullet-point death into which many of us were induced throughout the nineties and right up to the current day.

1. Teach them biology
When we experience a presentation we experience it in two ways - through the auditory nerves (ears) and the optical nerves (eyes). The brain is geared up to seeing above all else: 30% of the cortex is devoted to visual processing, only 8% for touch and 3% for hearing. So, biology tells us that our presentations must be, above all, visual.

2. Teach them to make it visual
PowerPoint doesn't kill presentations. Bullet points do. We need to move our students away from text-based presentations. The text is in what we say.

"Why would you use words on the screen when they do just fine in your mouth?" Seth Godin.

It's not about killing all the words in a presentation, but if you remove most of them then the presenter has to internalise the content. Great for learners. But great for listeners, too. Our cognitive load will tend to move into overload if we have too much going on through the screen as we listen to the words from the presenter.

3. Teach them how to find images
Flickr is great for finding images, but Flickrstorm is another alternative, which makes it easier to search within the creative commons images contained on Flickr, add them to your tray of photos, and download all of them at once, providing you simultaneously with the original URL of each picture. iStockphoto is a pay-for site but gives an exceptional quality of image. The best part for presentations, is that images can be searched for with white space in particular areas. Tell the advanced search that you want to have images with whitespace in the top left corner, so that your text there can be legible, and it will return images that suit your means perfectly.

4 Tell them how to respect Creative Commons
Creative Commons is the licence that tells people how they can use your content in their own sites or project, legally. There are several types of licence which are important to understand. Not everyone does, so it needs taught, not caught.

5. Teach them design
Design is often seen as the thing that we get around to eventually, "if there's enough time to get to it". Design is key. It's the first thing we need to consider. It changes the way we develop our original idea so fundamentally, we're best to approach things from a design perspective from the outset.

The first thing we need to do is strip away the template that came with the presentation package. We also need to strip away anything that's minor, that we can simply add in passing. Then, can we reduce what's left to once sentence, with an image that speaks 1000 words telling us everything we need to know, along with the oral presentation that we're giving.

6. Teach them to sell
In libraries we see children copy and paste chunks of text, learning nothing about that particular topic. Children need to learn how to craft and sell a message. Communication is the transfer of emotion (another Godin-ism).

7. Colour and font choice matters
Fire trucks are becoming yellow - it's the most noticeable colour in our spectrum. Green signifies renewal for most cultures. Red signifies alertness or anger in most cultures. Americans do indeed seem to have a preference for the colour blue, deep blue signifying trust. Combining national preference with the most flashy colour leads Blockbusters and Goodyear to the logos they have.

"Comic sans is illegal in 34 States," says Jakes. Serif fonts help you move from one word to the next, great for when you're reading. But in presentations you don't want your audience to be reading - you want them to be listening to you. Therefore, in presentations we need to use Sans Serif fonts. With American audiences, avoid the use of Helvetica - it's used by the Inland Revenue Service.

8. Teach them to incorporate multimedia
Everything on the web these days, if it's worth watching, has the word <EMBED> next to it. But if YouTube or Google Video is blocked in your school district then students need to learn how to use Vixy or ZamZar to convert online video at home to a hard file they can import into their presentation.

9. Teach them some PowerPoint secrets
Pressing the button B makes the PowerPoint go blank. W makes the screen go white. Typing the number of a slide will take you to a slide, even if it's a hidden slide that we didn't see in the main presentation.

10. Teach them to share
Dan Roam's new book is the quickest read (it took me a Sunday afternoon) but one of the most valuable if you present.
Pic: Presentation Skills from RXAphotography.com

About Ewan

Ewan McIntosh is the founder of NoTosh, the no-nonsense company that makes accessible the creative process required to innovate: to find meaningful problems and solve them.

Ewan wrote How To Come Up With Great Ideas and Actually Make Them Happen, a manual that does what is says for education leaders, innovators and people who want to be both.

What does Ewan do?

Module Masterclass

School leaders and innovators struggle to make the most of educators' and students' potential. My team at NoTosh cut the time and cost of making significant change in physical spaces, digital and curricular innovation programmes. We work long term to help make that change last, even as educators come and go.

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