Oh, wow. That is all I can say. It’s Fun Friday, again, and you are not going to believe this super cool invention called the 3Doodler. You may have heard of the revolutionary 3D printers that are taking the world by storm. The only problem is that they are somewhat expensive (though smaller, less pricy models are starting to be introduced into the market), and it takes a little know-how to create designs to be printed. The 3Doodler solves those problems. ANYONE can use it, and the only limitations are your imagination and how much plastic you can afford to buy to make your dreams come true. 3Doodler is a project on Kickstarter, which means that it is not for sale, yet. But the funding needed to start production was $30,000 – and they have already received over $1,000,000,000 in pledges. If you head over to the site now, you can make your own pledge at one of the various price points. Depending on how much you pledge, you could have your very own 3Doodler by December. Can you imagine what your students could do with this?
If you are looking for another option for creating presentations, Jux may be the answer. Two reasons that you might like Jux are that it is visually stunning, and that it works on mobile platforms as well as on desktop computers.
Unfortunately, you need to give an e-mail address to sign up for Jux. But classroom teachers have found workarounds for this in the past, such as creating an account the whole class can use under the teacher’s e-mail address.
The Jux home page gives examples of different types of projects you could design. One of the ideas I liked was the “Top 10 List”. This would be a good framework for students to use, such as “The Top 10 Inventions in Communication” or “The Top 10 Exhibits from Our Museum Field Trip.”
Once a Jux presentation is created, there are multiple options for sharing, such as embedding it.
Two things you should think about before using this with your class, though, are: is this blocked from student access, and are there inappropriate images in the gallery? I have not seen anything inappropriate, yet, but I would recommend limiting younger students to creating a Jux presentation, and not digging too deeply into the examples. At the very least, you should hopefully be able to use it on your own, perhaps creating collections of images for your class blog or to generate interest in new topics you want to introduce in the classroom.
I am not sure about the educational value of this cool video, but this is a “Fun Friday” post, so I give myself permission to show you something that your students will enjoy, even though it probably does not tie into your curriculum. The video was created by “brusspup”, and can be found on YouTube. Rather than embedding it, I am giving you the link to my quietube version. I noticed some not very appropriate suggested videos on the margins when I was not playing the video fullscreen, so I used quietube to clean up the page a bit. Click here to see some amazing art!
“Painted Pie” is a video you will probably want to view more than once. The post-Impressionist artwork alone is stunning. But, even better, is the sweet story of a homeless boy who is searching for a human being to connect with him. The moral of the story, that you never know how many lives you can touch with small kindnesses, reminds me of another couple of videos I have featured on here, “The Kindness Boomerang” and “Monsterbox“. The film was created by Havish Thota, Kudzai Gumbo, Mehdi Farrokhtala, and Abdulrahman Alansari. It has already won several awards. The accompanying soundtrack, “Little Person” by Jon Brion is a masterpiece, as well.
In the classroom, I would, of course, ask the students to verbalize the moral of the story. You could ask them to retell this silent movie in their own words. Before even showing the movie, you could play the soundtrack, and ask the students to come up with stories that would go with the music. If you are studying art, you might see if they could write a similar story based on another work of art. Random Acts of Kindness Week is fast approaching (February 11th), and this would be a good way to introduce it.
I found this video on the “Kuriositas” blog. Though the “Kuriositas” blog is not meant for a young audience, I encourage adults to check it out, as it features many interesting videos, pictures, and stories.
Here is the link to the video in case the embedded version does not show below: http://vimeo.com/57146618
It appears that 2013 will be the year for great, new museums. I mentioned the Museum of Mathematics last week. This week, while researching the site I am blogging about today, I found out that the famed Exploratorium of San Francisco is moving to a new location. Fortunately, The Tinkering Studio site, sponsored by the Exploratorium, is still up and running – though it appears that the Exploratorium site is not. Hopefully, it is just getting an upgrade like its physical counterpart.
The Tinkering Studio is full of interesting ideas for, well, tinkering. There definitely seems to be a resurgence of the maker movement, and this site can inspire many creative projects. Each project is described, offers pictures, and gives reasons for its educational value. Many also offer PDF’s with instructions on how to do the project.
I am going to offer this site as a resource for my 5th graders, who have a Genius Hour each week, and who are sometimes looking for ideas for their next learning project. I’m also going to keep it in mind for my 10-year-old when she says, “I’m bored,” this summer…
I am so jealous of New York City. They just acquired one more museum, and I’m pretty sure it would be a great destination for a field trip. The Museum of Mathematics opened in December of 2012. In this article by Bob Minzesheimer of USA TODAY, it is described as ‘”a kind of playground” and a “work of theater” that plays with geometry, art and algorithms,” according to Tim Nissen, its designer and architect. Why do we need a Museum of Mathematics in this world? You can check out this video on USA TODAY’s site in which the director gives 5 reasons for this $15 million project. If you are like me, and do not live close enough to visit, you can at least enjoy some of the hands-on activities provided on its website.
Reading about this museum inspired me to challenge my 4th grade Gifted and Talented students, who have been studying mathematical masterpieces, to design their own math museums. They gleefully took on this project, and I am enjoying some of their ideas. Below you can see a couple of examples of what they have done so far. They are still in the beginning stages, so try not to judge their spelling!
(You will note the mention of “Vi Hart” in both of the examples. My students are very impressed with her videos. I realized, today, that I haven’t posted about them on this blog, so I will probably do a post about them tomorrow.)
Yesterday, I posted instructions on using the free Aurasma app on your iDevice. Included in these instructions were how to use the plethora of “Overlays” provided within the app. Once, you create an “Aura” these “Overlays” are short animations or videos that can will appear on top of a trigger image when you use Aurasma on your device to scan the trigger image.
But you are not limited to the “Overlays” provided by Aurasma, numerous and entertaining though they may be. You can also add your own “Overlays” within the app. For example, suppose you have a student who has created a work of art. You would like to display the art on a bulletin board, but you really want people to see and hear the child describing her artwork as they are viewing it on the board. You could do this with a QR code, of course, as I explained in this post, but you could also use Aurasma, which will make it appear as though the student is actually standing in front of the artwork as she explains it. Another way you might use a “homemade” overlay would be with a textbook picture or a worksheet. You could have a video that explains a certain concept or gives hints, and it will appear every time a user holds their device over the trigger image. Here is how you could do this:
1.) First, decide what your trigger image is going to be. In the first example, it would be the child’s artwork.
2.) Then, decide what you want to happen when the image is scanned. In this case, we want a video of the child explaining her work to appear.
3.) Using your iDevice that has the Aurasma app, videotape the above scene with your camera app, and save it to your Photos.
4.) Open the Aurasma app. Tap on the Aurasma logo.
5.) Tap on the +. Near the bottom of the “Create” window, tap on the “Device” tab.
6.) Tap on the large +, and choose “Photo Album”.
7.) Find the video you created and choose it. Select “Use”.
8.) After it process, give the Overlay a name, and tap on “Finish”.
9.) You will be asked if you want to create an Aura with that Overlay. Tap on “OK”.
10.) Take a picture of the artwork.
11.) Choose where you want the Overlay to appear on the artwork.
12.) After it processes, add details (see my previous post for more info on this).
13.) Once it is done, it will give you a message that the Aura has been added to your device. After that, whenever you use the Aurasma app to scan that art, the video will appear over it.
Below, you can view a short video on ways Aurasma can be used in education. Next week, I will give some more ideas on how this app can be used in the classroom. (You can find it at http://youtu.be/5qRcIek4NY0 if the video does not show below.)
I’m dusting off an old post from last December in which I offered a set of PDF’s that you could use to prompt some divergent thinking amongst your students. These sheets are based on the thinking tool, S.C.A.M.P.E.R., which I explain in my post, “S.C.A.M.P.E.R. the Holidays“. My 1st through 5th grade Gifted and Talented classes really enjoyed these last year. I’m at a new school this year, so I get to use them again! Also, if you happen to be looking for some other free holiday downloads, you might want to check out my post from last week on “Holiday QR Codes“.
I found out about this fabulous artist, Marta Altes, from the author of the blog, “This Sydney Life“. Like yesterday’s post, my resource is not categorized as an educational blog, but I immediately thought of classroom connections when I saw the artwork of Marta Altes. I love the whimsy and the simple, but unique, quality of her artwork. Displaying some of her pictures would be a great way to jumpstart some creative thinking in your classroom. If you have ever used the creative thinking tool, S.C.A.M.P.E.R., you might see this as a perfect example of “Put it to another use”. Can you imagine how some gifted students might run with this idea?
For those of you new to this blog, I am devoting Fridays during the holiday season to recommending “Gifts for the Gifted”. You can see the two posts that I have done so far here and here. You can also visit my Pinterest board on Games for Gifted Students. A lot of these are not just for gifted students, but would be appreciated by many children – and adults.
I have Wedgits in my classroom, and my students love them. They enjoy meeting the design challenges on the cards, but they also delight in creating their own structures. The pieces are practically indestructible, and the design combinations are endless. Wedgits are the type of toys that meet the needs of kids who love to precisely recreate masterpieces while they also meet the needs of kids who want to make their own unique mark on the world.
Wedgits are available in many different bundles. You can get a “Starter Set”, an “Explorer Pack” (oh wow! I totally need this for my classroom!), “Mini-Wedgits”, Pink or Purple Wedgits, even Translucent Wedgits – and more. Go shop for the Wedgits set that fits your gift-receiver’s personality, or your own!