Originally uploaded by troutcolor

I just noticed and downloaded a mnew version of ImageWell which looks like giving Skitch a run for its money.
ImageWell is free with paid extras, I’ve only tried the free version, you could use it for quick editing and upload of photos (dotmac, flickr, webdav, ftp, sftp ImageShack and smugmug supported) but it is the annotation tools that look really good to me.
Text, bubbles and shapes can all be added and all support colour and drop shadows. skitch has drop shadow text but ImageWell can drop shadows on the bubbles and lines, Skitch’s arrows look good but Imagewell’s are bezier curves.
I could also paste another image onto the first one (the imagewell image on my imagewell pic).
The ImageWell Xtras cost $14.95 and adds batch processing and upload and a pile of extra shapes.

A while back we got a free LG shine from The LG Shine bloggers relations programme. This was really useful on our recent trip to the Netherlands where we posted photos regularly to the Sandaig’s Netherlands Moblog, we are also starting a wee classroom experement: Sandaig MoBlog which needs some work.



Anyway I’ve entered the Born to Shine Competition to try an win another phone. All we need to is to get more comments on the Born to Shine Competition – blog entry than other entries and we will be on our way to a class set of phones.

You can see the full size full size photo and if you have a minute please pop over to the entry and give us a hand.

We got back from our Netherlands 2007 trip this morning after a rather tiring drive through the night.

I think we made a pretty good fist of blogging the trip and I am beginning to think about what went right and what didn’t work so well with the way we handled the blogging, I might have better thoughts once I’ve had a good night’s sleep.

The main focus of the blog was communication with the parent and it certainly hit that nail on the head. The reaction from the parents and from the children when I read the comments on the buss proved that.

But I am starting to think of other possibilities:

The trip was not really designed for the children to do written work, our timetable is packed and I was relying on volunteers to try posts during the bus journey. This meant not every child was posting and the posts were pretty much the first thing that the bloggers thought of.

It might be possible to build in some whole group reflection time where diaries and blogs would be kept uptodate, but we would not want it to feel like school.

Maybe we could have a blog/pod team organised on a room basis and give them a wee bit of time each day (maybe they could stay up a little later then they would not miss out other things).

An internet connection in the hotel would have been good, I posted shivering in the dusk from the town square with a t-mobile pay as you go wifi one evening, a cosy cafe was better the next night and I am afraid I had to shelter in Macdonalds on a third.

The Netherlands Moblog was a good idea, but unfortunately my kludge to get it working left no facility for comments, this could be a really good tool.

I made the firsts UK post and the last one via a bluetooth mobile, this worked very well and didn’t cost too much. I posted one quick post, one small photo and about 6 words, from the Netherlands and it cost about £4! I’d like to investigate getting a dutch sim for another time.

I lost my MP3 recorder on the first day, but even then it was apparent that the children really need time to think and rehearse even informal podcasts. Again time would need to be made for this if it was to include all the children.

We had another tech disaster when a card in a camera with a load of great pictures and video got corrupt. Very disappointing.

Overall I am quite pleased with how the web 2 aspect of the trip turned out (other aspects were good too) but it is really another scratch in the surface suggesting lots of ways to do it better.

Now all I’ve got to do is read a weeks worth of email I think I’ll leave my fed reader for tomorrow.


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.