This week I have been working with our two primary seven classes in the media room. Trying as usual to do a little too much in the time, I’ve been doing a bit of basic spreadsheet work and some work on mobile phones.
The first day we talked about communications tech the children had in their homes, it was interesting to me that last years primary 6 figure of just over 60% with internet access in their homes had risen to 85% for the primary sevens (47 children). More surprising was figures of 12 out of 47 who had WII and the just released PS3 in their homes.

(aside, I had one of my p6s post to his weblog from a psp last week)

46 out of 47 children had mobile phones of their own and we had some good discussion of the various ways phones could be used. The children were pretty knowledgeable (knew more than me) about various mobile technologies, but I managed to impress them by posting a couple of quick photos to the web site. Quick fingered kids did the text input.

We finished off today by posting a mind map about mobiles to the blog along with an audio file recorded on my mobile and bluetoothed to my mac to be converted to an mp3 (this had to be usb sticked to a networked machine to get onto the network). Done in the last 10 minutes of a lesson in a fairly off the cuff way, I think this has possibilities.

A couple of snags had to be worked around, converting to mp3 from the recorded amr file with iTunes was at the wrong sample rate for playing in flash so we needed to use audacity to get it right (the file played fine as a straightforward link, but mp3s need to be at sample rate multiple of 11,025Hz (e.g: 11KHz, 22KHz, 44KHz).

A couple of points of interest, I needed to get the LAME Audio Encoder 3.97 for intel macs from Thalictrum – Products before I could get Audacity to export mp3s from our new macbook. I’ve now downloaded the Universal Binary Installer for the Lame lib from Lame – KJams Wiki this allows export from quicktime.

For my own satisfaction at lunchtime I repeated the blog post from the macbook using the mobile as a bluetooth modem. So the workflow could be:

  • Record on mobile, bluetooth to mac
  • Convert with quicktime to mp3
  • Upload from macbook to blog using mobile as a modem.

Toys for the boys perhaps, but also a good place to get the children discussing the positive use of mobiles in education and a way to get some immediate blogging done from bus trip dead-time.

Blogged from tm

It is amazing how stupid technology can make you feel.

After school I was testing our video conferencing unit trying to connect to our Dutch friends De Rank via the LTS Hub.

First try and I can hear but not see, a quick call to the ever patient Stuart Oliphant at LTS enable me to see and here Suzan in Holland. Unfortunately she could not here me, more phone calls to Holland and Stuart had Stuart joining in the conference and trying various thing, we all left and joined the conference a few times, I held up helpful hints to Suzan like ‘Turn up you volume’ on A4 paper. Eventually I though maybe my mic is muted in some way, as Stuart and Suzan could both hear each other and not me, this made me to look for my mic which turned out to be still in the box:-S

My first video blush, I am only thankful that I didn’t have a class of children watching and can only apologise to Stuart and Suzan. I’ll remember to plug in the mic on Friday.