Tag Archives: mashup

Mashups in Minutes

fish heads

“Ever notice how the Fishheads song sounds kind of like Phantom of the Opera?”  Um, no, I hadn’t, but when Greg, whose desk is not far from mine asked me this question, I became curious.  I hummed each tune and I had to admit there were some similarities.

I opened a YouTube clip of each song (Fishheads and Music of the Night from Phantom of the Opera) and after a quick listen, I also thought there were some parallels that warranted further investigation.  I also found that I could play the Fishheads song, then switch over to another tab in my browser and watch the Phantom clip on mute, thus integrating the audio from one with the video from another.  Interesting.  And, when the Phantom’s mouth movements happened to sync to the Fishheads lyrics, pretty funny.  But, could I capture this hilarity for others to enjoy?  Enter Screenr.

Screenr is an online screen capture service that I’d seen but never used before.  Turns out it couldn’t be easier.  Go to Screenr.com, click on the “Launch Screen Recorder Now!” button, and drag the red rectangle over the part of your screen that you want to record.  From there, just click record for up to 5 minutes of free video.  It was a bit tricky for me to sync the start of the video and audio to the start of the recording, and I had to adjust the volume level so that the recording was not too loud, but after a couple of tries I managed to work it out pretty well.  See for yourself.

Unfortunately, WordPress, which this blog is built in, does not currently provide a way to embed Screenr content.  I should also be able to upload the video to YouTube from Screenr, but that feature isn’t working for me.  So, instead of embedding the video in my blog, you’ll just have to follow the link.

So, that’s how I turned an office distraction (no offense, Greg!) into an opportunity to try out a technology I’ve been meaning to check out.  And, I’m pleased to report, Screenr was extremely easy to use on the fly without practice or instructions.

Can this become a project for your classroom?  Perhaps.  It might be very interesting to ask students to create a Screenr video that combines the audio from one video and the video from another.  Because Screenr is web / browser based, there are very few editing options other than “record” and “stop,” but this simplicity can really flatten out the learning curve.  It would be interesting to have students present and discuss their mashups.  But, please, no Wizard of Oz vs. Pink Floyd.

Advertisements

4 Comments

Filed under Resources

Game-Based Mashups

love spelled in playing cards

I love a good boardgame and I love a good mashup.  So, when I read about the Boardgame Remix Kit on GeekDad, I had to write about it.  I don’t own the kit (which comes in ebook, book, card, and app form) yet, but I did take a check out the free Valentine’s Edition download, which looks like a lot of fun.

The first game, WLTM Humpty Dumpty is a kind of madlibs game in which players create personal adds based on Trivial Pursuit cards (WLTM = Would Like To Meet).  The second turns Monopoly into a game of Divorce! in which players use their money to pay lawyers to fight over property.  (I have to admit, my first reaction to this game was that it might be about as much fun as going through a real divorce, but after reading the rules, there is some strategy involved that could be fun to play.)  The other two games are based on Scrabble and Clue.

How can these games be used in a classroom?  Like other forms of media (books, movies, music, etc.), there are several ways in which these games can be used.  Students can play them and report back on their experience.  This could be as simple as Was it fun? and How do you play? to evaluating whether the game accurately simulated real life.  For example, was Divorce! similar to a real divorce?  Why or why not?  Students could also compare the original version of the game to the mashup version.  Finally, students could use these mashups as inspiration to seek out other versions of existing board games or even to create their own.  All of these could be fun ways to practice English on Valentine’s Day.

Leave a comment

Filed under Resources

2010 in review

automatic transmission

I got this auto-generated post direct from WordPress, which hosts ESL Technology.com, and thought some of it was worth sharing.  Every time I login to my blog, I can check on these numbers and other interesting data.  I can see how many page views I’ve had by day, week, and month as well as which pages were most popular and what sites are referring people to my blog.  More interesting than the numbers themselves are the fact that this data is so easily available that WordPress can automagically pull it together into a blog post for me.  (Incidentally, you can search “2010 in review” on WordPress to find other bloggers who have posted the autogenerated post.)

This kind of data is becoming easier and easier to work with — to mashup.  And all kinds of new software allows us to pull together lots of data in enlightening ways.  Governments that are making this kind of data available are finding citizens stepping forward to develop ways to make it more useful.  See Tim Berners-Lee’s TED Talk for a six-minute rundown of the highlights, below.

I recognize that the numbers generated for me by my blog are not as important as which roads are impassable after an earthquake in Haiti.  But, on almost every scale, this data is becoming easier to find, use, and mashup.  Some of our students may already be doing this.  Surely, many are not.  Developing the ability to work with this kind of data in very dynamic ways is sure to be an asset, if not an expectation, in the near future.

So, without further ado, my numbers.  Thanks for reading.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A helper monkey made this abstract painting, inspired by these stats.

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 13,000 times in 2010. That’s about 31 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 50 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 119 posts.

The busiest day of the year was August 4th with 95 views. The most popular post that day was OutSMARTed.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were twitter.com, esl.osu.edu, en.wordpress.com, en.bab.la, and google.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for esl technology, esl and technology, technology esl, technology for esl students, and kinesthetic learners.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

OutSMARTed August 2010
4 comments

2

Interactive Whiteboard FAQ (Wii) March 2009
16 comments

3

About Me July 2008
4 comments

4

How do I know my IR LED works? October 2008
1 comment

5

Projects August 2008
1 comment

Leave a comment

Filed under Inspiration

Mashup Your Theory

The above video applies Bloom’s Taxonomy, a classic theory of learning, to one of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies.  While some of the examples in this video are a bit of a reach, this is an interesting way to explore an educational theory.

This sort of project may be a bit beyond most ESL students, but what about teachers in training?  Demonstrating understanding of a theory by identifying examples of it in a movie would be a lot more fun and creative than writing a paper about it.

When I was in graduate school, we often analyzed student development theory as it played out in The Breakfast Club and its five archetypal characters.  How do Chickering’s seven vectors of personal development explain the actions of John Bender, for example.  Now that digital video editing can be done on a laptop, these kinds of mashups are easy to do.  Are there any other good examples out there?

Leave a comment

Filed under Inspiration

Getting Started with Google Maps

map video wall

This is how we added video to maps before Google.

I recently received the following question as a result of my presentation on Locative Media and Other Mashups:

I am currently working with a first grade teacher on a family oral history project and we would like to embed the stories from the families in a map of some sort — meeting 2 or 3 social studies standards with one activity!! I would appreciate some technology pointers from you if you are willing to do that.

I thought I’d share my response here as a brief tutorial tutorial for Google Maps.  If you’ve been on the fence about whether or not to create your own map with Google, I hope this will be enough to convince you to give it a try.

Sounds like you’ve got a really interesting project that would be easy to pull together using Google Maps.

Here’s an example map I created in which student videos describing campus are located on the spot they are describing:

[Because the videos embedded in the map are embedded in this blog post, they are not visible in the balloons.  Click on “View Larger Map” to see the fully-functioning version.]

You could create a similar map with video or audio, pictures, text, or any combination.  To get started, go to http://maps.google.com a sign up for a free Google account, if you don’t already have one.  Then click on “My Maps” and “Create new map.”

When in “edit” mode, you can add pointers to the map and then add whatever you want to appear in the balloon that pops up when you click on the pointer.  To add a pointer, do a search for a location, click on that pointer, and click on “Save to” to choose the map you have created.  It will then appear in your list of pointers when you click back on your map.  Note that it’s easy to wind up with the pointer on your map obscured by the pointer that you found via your search.  Use the checkboxes in the bottom left corner to hide the sets of pointers that you don’t want to see.

If you click on the pointer on your map while in edit mode, you will get several options for the contents of the balloon.  Too add a YouTube video, click on the “Edit HTML” option while editing the balloon and paste in the contents of the “Embed” code on YouTube.  Of course, this assumes that you have uploaded your video to YouTube or have found a video that you want to (and have permission to) use, which is also relatively easy to do.

Once you have finished editing your map, click on “Done.”  You can then click on link to get a URL which you can use to direct people to your map (as I have done, above) or even a code to embed it into another website or blog.  You can even allow multiple Google accounts to contribute to the same map, if that makes sense for your project.

Leave a comment

Filed under Resources

Locative Media And Other Mashups

These are the slides from a presentation I made this morning at the Digital Media in a Social World Conference.  More examples, including some that were generated during the presentation, can be found in the links I tagged using Diigo and Delicious.

I’ve tried to gather as many examples of digital mashups (see Wikipedia definition #2) that, in many cases, use maps or other visual means to represent different sets of data.  Do you have a favorite example that I didn’t include?  Leave it in a comment.  I’d love to see more!

To learn more about the conference, check out the #DMSW hashtag on Twitter.

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Old-School Edupunk

Nintendo NES card reader and USB hub.
Nintendo NES card reader and USB hub - internal.

Nintendo NES controller, card reader and USB hub.

Ok, this is just a personal project I’ve been working on, but I thought I’d post pictures because it’s been kind of fun to tackle.

I’ve hacked together an old Nintendo NES controller, a card reader, and a USB hub. The components I chose fit surprisingly well inside the controller down to the location of the cord. All I really needed to do was to cut a couple of access slots and scrape out some of the guts so everything would fit. This necessitated gluing the buttons back, thereby making them non-functional, but it was worth it. At first glance, you don’t realize it’s not an actual controller. But, plug in a couple of USB devices and an SD memory card and the differences are obvious.

Why post this here? Well in addition to being a neat thing, I think this project is akin to the Edupunk ethos that I first blogged about a couple of months ago. I’m currently developing a presentation on this idea with my friend Matt over in KSA. The gist is, if can’t find what you want, build it yourself. Not only, can you tailor your product to better suit your needs, but you’ll know how to solve any problems you encounter thereafter.

So, if you want clickers in your classroom, use Twitter or even Facebook to get it done. If you want a cool card reader, get an old NES controller from eBay. If you want an interactive whiteboard, buy a wiimote and download the free software. And, if you want something nobody’s even heard of, try cracking open the case, switching things around, and building it yourself. You’ll enjoy the challenge.

6 Comments

Filed under Inspiration