You can thank my YouTube surfing son for this week’s School’s out Friday video. It’s the Google+ Rap, and Funnyz certainly does a pretty good job selling it for Google. I do wonder though, if he’s also having a bit of a swing at it too with the inclusion of the interviews with people who have no idea what it is!
Google+ is certainly not on the tip of everyone’s tongue right now, but it does have the potential to be a very influential network. Right now, I scan it everyday, but I’m not posting much at all. Nor are many others in my circles I might add. I’m still finding that twitter is my network of choice. It’s high frequency sharing of information, and that’s where my life’s at right now. I’m pressed for time, and dipping in and out of a network is all I can afford during the working week. Google+ is more like longform journalism; the stream can be quite thoughtful, and the discussion requires more thinking. That’s obviously not a criticism, in fact, it’s a compliment. It’s the kind of thinking network I’d like to spend more time in, but the pace of life dictates otherwise right now.
The end of yet another busy week brings with it the promise of a quieter weekend. The sun looks like it will be shining in Melbourne this weekend, and this makes me a very happy woman.
I hope the sun shines on you this weekend, wherever it is you are in the world. Enjoy. : )
Does this remind you of anyone? You, maybe? Those of us who tweet regularly, update our status on facebook, those of us who blog? Once again, improveverywhere have made me smile, and plenty of others in that audience too by the looks of things.
BUT, not everyone agrees with the mirth and merriment. This video was posted on the TED site this week, and the comment thread accompanying it shows that some TEDsters are unhappy that something so ‘light’ could be put up as being worthy of inclusion. Take this comment as an example,
Between the video on how to tie your shoes and now this improv anywhere video that is reminiscent of something that would recommended to me on youtube, I’m a little bit disappointed in the videos that have been posted recently. It’s not that theres nothing to learn from these videos; one could make the case that the shoe tying video shows the importance of reexamining things we’re sure of or that this video shows the value of play and spontaneity, but I think those would be a far stretch. I guess over the years I’ve become accustomed to a TED that challenges me and expands my view of the world, not panders to me.
Really TEDsters? Lighten up. Not everything needs to be serious. In fact, sometimes taking the mickey out of ourselves provides insight into the way we conduct our lives.
Anyway, my need to share brings me to this. Last week was House Music day at my school, and I was mightily impressed with the small group music items. The winning group posted their effort on YouTube, and like a proud mother, I just have to share the talents of the students at my school with you all. So, take it away Cerutty Mads 2011, singing Love You by Free Design.
This very clever marriage proposal has gone viral on YouTube, and for good reason. It appeals to the romantics in all of us, and I bet there are quite a few people out there who are thinking back to their own marriage proposals and figuring they pale in comparison to what this clever young guy thought up for his beloved. (Clue for you all – replace the words ‘I bet there are quite a few people out there’ with ‘Jenny’ and you’ll know I’m referring to me!!)
Finally, the lurgy is leaving me and I think I’m returning to normalcy. What I need is 12 solid hours of rest and I think I’ll finally get over the sickness of the last week and a half! I better not relapse, because our School Library is in for a big week of author visits and an official launch next week and I need to be on deck.
Hope the weekend ahead is full of good times for you all. Enjoy. : )
Thanks go to Frances Manning, who pointed me in the direction of this amazing virtual choir, featuring 2052 performances of ‘Sleep’ from 1752 singers in 58 countries, individually recorded and uploaded to YouTube between September 2010 and January 2011. Here’s an explanation of how it all began from the Virtual Choir site;
The Virtual Choir began in May 2009 as a simple experiment in social media, when Britlin Losee – a fan of Eric’s music – recorded a video of herself singing “Sleep” and shared it on YouTube.
After watching the video, Eric responded by sending a call out to his online fans to purchase Polyphony’s recording of “Sleep”, record themselves singing along to it, and upload the result…
…Ever ambitious, for this latest Virtual Choir project Eric called for 900 singers to record themselves singing “Sleep”. At the final tally he received 2052 contributions from singers in 58 countries.
Upon previewing the video at TED 2011, Eric (and the choir) received two standing ovations – testimony to the power of the internet to connect people of all backgrounds and abilities and create something beautiful across time and space.
People are interested in coming together to create something special. If only we could harness this kind of energy in fields like medicine or science, where people could come together to share thinking and make concerted efforts to address issues affecting mankind. Collective action always seems to me to be such an altruistic act, benefiting all, but many people can’t get past the ‘what’s in it for me’ approach.
Been a big week. The CCAEducause conference took it out of me, and I’m glad to see the start of school holidays this afternoon. Time to recharge the batteries. I’m even thinking of starting a mosiac project tomorrow. I just need to clear my headspace and do something that will enable me to see something creative emerge.
Enjoy your weekend. Seek sunshine and soak it up. : )
Did you notice the date? If you didn’t, and you happened to stumble over the above video contained on this page, then I think you might be attempting to compose your mail in a very kinesthetic way by now. You might also be wondering how they managed to collate a top 5 list of viral YouTube pictures from 2011.
Google have been up to their April Fool’s day tricks again, something they are noted for. Here’s my favourite from this year’s batch;
Are you passionate about helping people? Are you intuitive? Do you often feel like you know what your friends and family are thinking and can finish their thoughts before they can? Are you an incredibly fast Google searcher? Like, so fast that you can do 20 searches before your mom does 1?
Every day people start typing more than a billion searches on Google and expect Google to predict what they are looking for. In order to do this at scale, we need your help.
Google’s quality team is looking for talented, motivated, opinionated technologists to help us predict what users are looking for. If you’re eager to improve the search experience for millions of people and have a proven track record of excellence, this is a project for you!
As a Google Autocompleter, you’ll be expected to successfully guess a user’s intention as he or she starts typing instantly. In a fraction of a second, you’ll need to type in your prediction that will be added to the list of suggestions given by Google. Don’t worry, after a few million predictions you’ll grow the required reflexes.
Watch anonymized search queries as they come in to Google.
Predict and type completions based on your personal experience and intuition.
Suggest spelling corrections when relevant.
Keep updated with query trends and offer fresh suggestions.
Excellent knowledge of English and at least one other language.
Excellent knowledge of grammatical rules (e.g. parts of speech, parsing).
Understanding of the search engine space.
Proven web search experience.
Good typing skills (at least 32,000 WPM).
Willingness to travel (in order to provide local autocompletions) or relocate to obscure places like Nauru and Tuvalu to develop knowledge of local news and trends.
If you want to see evidence of what they’ve done in past years, check out this About.com page where they’ve collected some of their efforts in years gone by.
I’m heading to Sydney over the weekend for the CCA-Educause Conference. Its focus is Higher Education, and I’m going to see what the thinking is so that I can gauge how we best prepare our students for the environments they will experience in their post secondary school life. There is a library strand for the conference, and I’ll be listening intently to discussions surrounding the future of libraries and the integration of ebooks and new devices.
I hope your weekend treats you well. Have fun. : )
I worked with my school’s Humanities faculty this afternoon showing them some Web tools that they may like to use in their classes. They’ve had a lot of success with Glogster, and now feel like they need to look into different tools to help with demonstrating students’ understanding of the subject areas they are teaching. I’ve created a page on the wiki I use as a resource base and I shared that with them. We explored quite a few things they’d not seen such as CapzlesVoicethread, timetoast, and Google Search Stories.
I’d never made a Google Search Story until this afternoon, and I found the experience incredibly easy, but enlightening too. While it’s no doubt a bit of marketing for the Google juggernaut, it could very well have a place in classrooms. The search story above deals with the recent crisis in Japan. All I had to do was go to the search story creator, type in the search terms I thought were applicable and select what kind of search I wanted for each search inquiry eg: web search, maps, news etc. It’s a way of highlighting that there are different kinds of searches you can do on Google- you aren’t limited to the home page search box. There’s the first lesson for our Google addicted students!
It got me, and the others in the group this afternoon, thinking about how it could be used in classrooms. Our International Studies teacher could see immediate application for current world events, as either something she created to hook the students in at the start of a lesson, or something they created to demonstrate their understanding of the timeline or complexity of an issue. We thought about books they’d read, and how they could tell a character’s journey via a search story. They are certainly fun to create and can be done easily within a lesson, even within ten minutes really.
The difficulty comes with uploading them to YouTube. I have an account so the process was very easy for me. All I needed to so was sign into my account from the search story creator and the video was uploaded for me. It was a very quick process. Both of my children have YouTube accounts, so if they were sitting in your classrooms you’d have no worries with them, but it’s not going to be the norm for the majority of our students. I also think we’d have a fair few parents who probably don’t want their children having an account. We were trying to work out how we’d overcome this and be able to use this in our classrooms. We thought we could create a school account on YouTube, and when it came to upload time, the teacher could input the school email and password for the account. We weren’t keen on sharing this with the students, just in case someone thought it ‘funny’ to upload something inappropriate under the school’s name. I’m not sure how we’ll proceed just yet, but I do think it’s worth following through with. If anyone reading this has any other ideas, please leave a comment and enlighten us!
It’s worth taking a look at the search stories site and looking at some of the videos there. Some are very clever, even touching, and all in 30 seconds or so. Take a look below and you’ll see what I mean.
“Pure video viewing – Watch YouTube videos without comments, suggestions, or the ‘other’ things.”
It does just that. Look at the following screenshot to see what it looks like in action;
Our school permits access to YouTube, and teaching secondary students about the nature of content that appears on sites like this is part of our Digital Literacy teaching in my opinion. I do know that many schools block YouTube because of the potentially controversial content that can be found there, and many Primary School teachers would probably be quite uncomfortable with the related video content that appears, some of which has seemingly no relation to the educationally appropriate video you have just watched.
This is where ViewPure will be so useful. If you are a teacher wanting to use the video, but you don’t necessarily want to download a copy, just open up ViewPure in a new tab and enter the url of the video you want purified! The site has ads on it, and the one I’m looking at at the moment is for Russian girls looking for you! Rest assured, your purified video sits in a window by itself, and is safe for your class to view.
Pretty handy little web app in my opinion. Hope it doesn’t disappear anytime soon.
It’s actually Christmas morning here (1.36am to be precise!), but it’s still Friday in parts of the world so I’m feeling justified, if not a little bit crazy, for getting School’s out Friday out at this time. This is North Point Community Church’s iBand, playing Christmas tunes using iPads and iPhones. Just imagine if a group of kids could do something like this for a school music concert. There’s another thing to dwell on for the 2011 school year! Thanks Allanah for sending me this link tonight. You saved me a lot time searching for something. : )
Christmas Eve party is over, dishes are done, presents are wrapped. Time for bed methinks!
Merry Christmas to you all, loyal readers, whoever you are. Hope you have a wonderful holiday season. : )
This ‘Digital Story of the Nativity‘ just had to be the pick for School’s out Friday this week. It came to me from a tweet from Dean Groom, and it does make you think how things would be played out if Mary and Joseph were hunting for accomodation and the three Kings were sourcing gifts today. Well worth watching in my opinion.
Can’t write any more. I’m off on the hunt for a mouse in my house. Just what I need!
*Back – mouse successfully escorted from the premises, but not before me saying, “Where did it go?” and my son replying, “It’s on your foot.” And that’s exactly where it was! I don’t think I’ve moved quite so quickly all year – could be a new land speed record.
Enjoy the weekend. The last before the Christmas onslaught. Good luck with the shopping. : )