Monday, 29 November 2010

StoryJumper Online Story Maker

This online story maker is very easy to use. I tried uploading a story that I made using Comic Life with a class of Grade 1 students. The story was created offline and exported as .jpg files making it a simple upload. The link to view it is here The Story of Merapi

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Writing Chinese Characters with a Stylus Directly on the Macbook Trackpad

Today I tried out something new. I learned how to input Chinese characters by writing them on the multi-touch trackpad with a stylus.

First you will need to activate your Trackpad handwriting window. The keypress shortcut is shift-control-spacebar

You need to set your Macbook so that you can input both the simplified Pinyin and traditional characters. In your System Preferences, open the 'Language and Text' settings.

Make sure that you check the 'Chinese - Simplified' box and select Trackpad Handwriting.

You can input using your finger - or for more accuracy, you can use an iPad or iPhone stylus.

Here is an iPad stylus that I bought for about $12 at Poins Square in Jakarta.

Here is the video I took this morning showing some of SWA's Chinese language teachers playing with the stylus on the Macbook trackpad.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Creative Story iBook about Merapi - Grade 1's First Joint Work

The Grade 1 students at the Jakarta World Academy have been following the recent eruptions of Mt. Merapi in Central Java. The students are very concerned about what has happened to the people living near the volcano who have lost their homes.
These Grade 1 students decided to write a story about what happened. To make the story more accessible to their age group the class teacher encouraged the class to write it in the style of a fairytale. The students were able to write a few sentences of their own each, which when put together make up the whole story.
The class has two iMacs so the students took turns to write up their story in Comic Life (a program that these young learners are already familiar with) on the computers to be later dropped into Pages to get it ready for iBook conversion.
So far each student has typed up their words and drawn a picture to accompany their part of the story. Now we are getting it into the correct sequence so that each page can be inserted into a Pages document ready for exporting as an ePub. The reason for making an iBook is that many of these children have iPads or iPod Touches at home and they want to be able to read their book on those devices. I am planning to have a small workshop when the book is ready for parents so that they can learn about how to put an ePub on the iPad and how to view it. We are also planning for our next research activity (individual student work) to be published as iBooks. I will also make a pdf version of the book for those students who don't have an iPod or iPad.

I'll keep you all posted.

Smartboard +

The Pre Kindergarten students at Sinarmas World Academy are currently working on a Unit of Inquiry all about Explorations. This is essentially learning about their world. The students have been exploring the world of Art by using different painting techniques. I came across an online site which has a free tool that allows any user to create Jackson Pollock styled digital artwork. It is fun and simple to use. All you to is click and drag and the page will be soon filled with splashes and streaks of different colored paint.

When this tool is used with a Smartboard, the user can operate it with their fingers.

The Pre K students tried it out recently. It was a lot of fun and we were able to easily save each child's painting by making a screen capture. The students also took turns to play with a similar tool on my iPad called Random Pollock

Here is a video that I took of the lesson. One little boy really took on the whole Jackson Pollock style by jumping around and really throwing his whole body into creating the patterns on the Smartboard.