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Scratch: Imagine, Program, Share

Scratch, from the MIT Media Lab, is a programming tool “designed to help young people (ages 8 and up) develop 21st century learning skills. As they create Scratch projects, young people learn important mathematical and computational ideas, while also gaining a deeper understanding of the process of design.”

This demo video is all kinds of wonderful. It not only shows the process of designing and creating a game with Scratch, but also illustrates the thinking and learning going on while creating the game. And the narration and flow of the demo video are terrific too. Great job. I yelled hooray at the end!

An Introduction to Scratch Programming with Theo & Kyle –  Feb 19, 2009

There are more than 300,000 projects on the Scratch site! I had fun playing with this one – Mi’s Puzzle Demo

Fun stuff from Connecticut Libraries

One of the things I love about traveling all over to teach is hearing about new projects and ideas from the library staff in my classes. I always come back with a bunch of scribbled notes on pieces of paper that eventually sift out of my notebooks, folders, pocketbook and who knows where in my suitcase.

So here are the notes that have surfaced from last week’s trip to CT:

  • Mystery on Pine Street – Wacky, fun, stop-motion claymation style video created by kids at the Cornwall (CT) Free Library as part of their 2007 Summer Reading Program.
  • Forman School Library – Short audio book teasers to encourage summer reading. The mp3 files are stored on their wikispaces account and presented with an embedded audio player.
  • Writers ClubNorwalk (CT) PL – Great project had kids reading their own riddles, writings and offering book reviews. They’ve used the handy playtagger audio player that comes from Nice simple way to embed an audio player on a regular web page.

flickrCC – another great flickr search tool

How’d I forget flickrCC in the last post? This is another terrific flickr search tool that just searches for Creative Commons licensed flickr photos and has some really handy editing features.

  • Search for a keyword and you get a nice mosaic of thumbnails from flickr.
  • Pick the one you want and you can select which size you want view. (Larger images tend to bleed off to the right on smaller monitors.)
  • My favorite feature is “in house” editing. This gives you a screen where you can add credits to the picture, additional text, a border and more.
  • When you’re all done, right click and save to your hard drive or copy and pop it right into your presentation software.

(reminded of this via HeyJude)

Finding Photos – flickr Search Tools

Do you use flickr to find photos for presentations, reports and projects? It’s truly a treasure trove of photos, images and screenshots.

You can search for images of types of objects (apples, sailboats, panda bears) or specific places (Mt. Everest, Iguazu Falls) and even photos that evoke a certain emotion or concept (cheerful, speak no evil).

And by using flickr’s advanced searching option and limiting to Creative Commons licensed photos, you’ll find images that you can use without copyright worries.

But if you use flickr for this sort of search often, you’ll soon get tired of plowing through tons of images and downloading photos one by one. This is where some 3rd party tools come in handy.

  • flickrstorm – Enter search terms to retrieve photos matching that term. In addition, flickrstorm retrieves a set of related photos as well. Best of all, you can save individual photos to a “photo tray” and download them all to your computer at one go. This is a great time saver. (via Librarian in Black)
  • PicLens – This handy browser add-on lets you fly through a set of photos and zoom in on the one’s that look interesting. You’ll still need to select each photo individually for download, but you can preview hundreds of photos in a flash. Works with YouTube, Picasa, Photobucket and other image rich web sites. (via TheShiftedLibrarian)

Great Book Stories & VoiceThread

I just came across a wonderful multimedia project called Great Book Stories. It offers students and teachers the opportunity to share their favorite books through pictures, text and audio. The wiki links to digital stories created by students and teachers and encourages others to join in.

A number of tools for creating digital stories are mentioned, including VoiceThread. (I was looking for more info on VoiceThread when I came across this project.)

VoiceThread is (more…)