Friday, April 24, 2009

Capture that Youtube vid

So you've found that perfect video clip that illustrates the concept you want to introduce to the class. You've made a note of the Youtube address, or the embed code and are ready to show it to your class. You've connected the projector, fired up Firefox, and *disaster*, Youtube is blocked in your district!

What to do? This is where Voobys comes in handy. (There are a couple of other sites that work in a similar way: for example.)

Here's what you do:
(adapted from:
  1. Go to
  2. Type your search term in the search bar.
  3. Click on the video link so that it loads in the current window.
  4. As soon as you're on the desired page, go to the Address bar (where you typed in and just erase the word "youtube", substituting for it for the word "voobys".
  5. Download the video. This will take you to a page that allows you to download the video. Click the "Download Video" link that and choose the "save as" destination.
The resulting file can be burned to a CD or played directly from your computer.

Of course, you'll have to do all this from your home computer, if Youtube is blocked at your school. (As an additional ironic note, Voobys is unaccessible from my work site!)

Friday, April 17, 2009

Be an Artist: Create your own still life

I was at a meeting with some Elementary Computer teachers in my district, looking at some web-based drawing programs, and I mentioned the "Still Life" Painter on the US National Gallery of Art site. If you haven't seen it, it is worth a visit.

While it can be a little slow to load (depending on your connection), it's great fun. Students can view a "typical" still life composition and then take a turn creating their own, using the various elements provided. You can choose the table, the drape, the background, the fruit, the bowls and additional elements. Then you can add a "paint" effect to personalize your creation. The interface allows the student to create 8 different versions and hold them in "frames" along the right side of the screen (activated by the "look" button.)

From the site:
[Students] can explore spatial arrangement, perspective, proportion, and balance while creating engaging, interactive still life compositions that mix everyday objects with elements borrowed from famous works of art.

While there is a print feature, it seemed a little buggy, so I just used SHIFT+APPLE+4 on my Mac to snap png images of my work. The finished products can be viewed in Preview as a slide show.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

SKRBL: An interactive whiteboard

A while back, I reviewed Dabbleboard and recommended it as an easy virtual whiteboard. Here's another great Web-based tool for collaboration. Skrbl allows you to create a space and invite others to view and modify what you are working on.

As it says on the website:
Sketch, text, share files, upload pictures all in one common shared space. There are no new tools to learn, nothing to download, nothing to install.
Here's a link to try your own skrbl space.

skrbl now

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

If the World was 100 people

For those looking at sustainability, or communities, or global issues, this miniature earth site is a great thought provoker.

(It can also be found as a Youtube upload - with different music)

Want to explore this idea further?

  1. Some history behind the concept: click here
  2. Here's another Flash video with slightly different stats: click here.
  3. Some great poster ideas...could be a good art project! click here.
  4. Here's another visual representation: click here.
  5. And very ambitious project spin-off from click here.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Web-based music composition: Noteflight

I just stumbled across a great web-based tool for musicians: Noteflight. If you want to compose, and share your works with others, this site is perfect. Users can save their creations in an individual account, and email a link or embed the score on a blog or web-page. There's even a teaching module (which costs $) for music instructors to use.

Compositions can be printed or exported in a variety of formats (you need the latest Flash plug in installed) such as midi or wav files. The online documentation is very extensive and give a good idea of what this program can do.

A great tool, especially for Music Composition and Technology teachers!

Here's a sample I created: