2013 K-12 Horizon Report

Earlier this week the 2013 NMC K-12 Horizon Report was released. This is the fifth edition of this report, which predicts emerging global technology trends and their impact on teaching, learning and creative inquiry.

The report details each horizon and technology and gives examples of how teachers and educators are already adopting these in their classrooms.

The length of time before each of these technologies is predicted to become mainstream is:

Near-term (less than 12 months)

  • cloud computing
  • mobile learning

Mid-term (2-3 years)

  •  learning analytics
  •  open content

Far-term (4-5 years)

  • 3-D printing
  • virtual and remote laboratories

Follow the discussion on Twitter at #NMChz or download the report at go.nmc.org/2013-k12

Libraries and Infographics

Library Infographic - OCLC 1

Library Infographic - OCLC 2

Thinking about how to create an eye-catching marketing tool, I went searching for infographics related to libraries and found the following three:

In this blog post Andy Moreton, a ‘technology librarian’, considers infographics “a method for presenting data in a more informative and entertaining fashion than just dumping the content into a table.” He goes on to say,  “libraries are notorious for presenting data to the public in ways that are neither informative nor entertaining…”

This is certainly a challenge, and I would love to create an infographic to visualise my Library report at the end of the year. However, I think the skill of  developing an effective infographic is to use less information rather than more and therefore infographics perhaps work best as a marketing tool, focussing on key data, rather than a reporting tool.

In the meantime, while I’m thinking about how to do it, I’ll have plenty of sites to work my way through at Kathy Scrock’s  Infographics as Creative Assessment.  Here she has put together an impressive list of links to:

The history of infographics

Examples of great infographics

Literacies and standards

How to create an infographic

Successful K-12 practices

Infographic collections and info

Infographic topics keywords

Using Infographics in the Classroom


Image from 100 Years of War Casualties

I was recently introduced to infographics by a colleague, and could immediately see their potential for engaging students in the classroom. Most of our students are visual learners, and what better way to encourage them to analyse an issue or topic, than to get them to visually depict that information as an infographic?

Put simply, infographics are detailed posters, either online or printed, showing visual relationships between data and statistics.  They allow the viewer to gain an overview of an issue or problem which would be difficult to achieve with text alone, and they can turn potentially boring information into eye-catching charts and posters.

Imagine using infographics in a Geography classroom to challenge students to portray social issues in a new light. Imagine the depth of thought students would have to put in to ‘see’ data in a new way and provoke others to respond to it – for example:

So how do you create an infographic?  These two sites give ideas for where to start, and Open Clip Art Library can be used for free images.

Some infographics are dense with information – Red Tape: The Government Grind,  and some are clear, simple and extremely effective –  Why do freeways come to a stop?
Other examples of infographics can be found at:

How you will die from drunk driving

Drunk Driving by Car Insurance Comparison.org

Quickoffice for iPad

Quickoffice for iPadI’ve been on holiday in Tasmania for the last 2 weeks, and determined I was going to just use my iPad, so Ididn’t take my laptop. Before I left I downloaded Dropbox onto both my laptop and my iPad, and this was an incredibly easy way to transfer files to my iPad, which I could then open using Quickoffice. However,  there were some files attached to email messages which I forgot to save into Dropbox, and as I didn’t always have internet access, I wasn’t sure for a while how I would be able to read them offline.

I had been using Quickoffice to read and edit Word, Excel and Powerpoint files (se my previous post) and when I had internet access, I opened a couple of email attachments. I was most impressed to see that there is a link at the top right of each document as you open it, asking if you want to open it in Quickoffice. All I had to do was click on the link and the document was saved to my inbox in Quickoffice – a very useful way to transfer documents to my iPad if I’m not using Dropbox or Google Docs.

Quickoffice and Dropbox were the only file sharing apps I used while I was away, and I was very happy with both of them.

According to a press release in December 2010:

Quickoffice Adds Rich PowerPoint Editing Features to its Custom-Built Mobile Office Suite for iPad
Dallas, TX – December 23, 2010 – Quickoffice, Inc.http://www.quickoffice.com, the global leader in mobile office productivity solutions, today announced the addition of PowerPoint editing to its complete mobile office suite for the iPad. Quickoffice Connect Mobile Suite delivers integrated editing capabilities for Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint files. Version 2.0 seamlessly integrates rich viewing, editing and creation of Microsoft Office files, an advanced file manager and mobile cloud access within one easy-to-use application. Its exclusive SmartTouch™ design technology takes advantage of the iPad’s large screen display and touch interface, and ensures the application is fully optimized for mobile productivity.

Quickoffice Connect Mobile Suite for iPad delivers three powerful editors within a single application and provides mobile cloud access to Box.net
, Dropbox, Google Docs, Huddle, MobileMe and SugarSync. In addition to supporting the editing of Word and Excel 2003 and 2007 files, the suite supports the viewing and presenting of PowerPoint 2007 files, and now, the extensive text formatting and graphical editing of PowerPoint 2003 files. Users are able to manipulate font type, color, size and style, along with adding, deleting and reordering slides in a presentation. Graphical editing allows users to insert and rotate common shapes, change object layering and insert and edit text boxes. Quickoffice’s PowerPoint editor also enables the insertion of images, which have been saved within the app and from the iPad’s built-in Photos app. Professionals can view presentations in slideshow mode on-device and on an external monitor.

To learn more, visit http://www.quickoffice.com/ipad

Dropbox for iPad

dropboxCloud computing is set to play a much more important role in our lives as more and more people realise the need to share documents between mobile devices and to edit and create documents on the run.

My favourite Christmas present this year was my iPad, and one of the first things I realised I needed to do was to work out the best way to use it to create and edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents.  Apple have 3 apps for doing this – Pages, Numbers and Keynote – but while these are very professional, they cost $13 AUD each. Quickoffice, a mobile office productivity solutions provider, has now released a Quickoffice app which uses QuckWord, QuickSheet and QuickPoint to allow you to create and edit Word, Excel and PPT documents for $17.99 AUD. This may not end up being the best choice, but so far it does everything I need it to do.

The next thing I needed was a way of transferring documents from my computer to my iPad so I could work on them, and because iPads lack a USB port, the only way of doing this is to access them via “the cloud.” After reading numerous blog posts, I found quite a few ways of doing this, including iTunes, GoogleDocs, MobileMe and Dropbox.




dropbox-icon-alphaThe easiest method I have found so far is Dropbox – a free app for your iPad or iPhone, which makes transferring documents absolutely simple. The first thing you need to do is download and install Dropbox on your computer, which then creates a folder on your C drive. Whatever documents you wish to transfer, simply copy and paste them into the Dropbox folder and they will automatically be uploaded to the online version of Dropbox where you can access them via the Dropbox app on your iPad/iPhone.

Using Quickoffice, I can then access my documents from Dropbox and save them to the folders which I have created. The free version of Dropbox has good but limited online storage space (2GB) so once you have used this you will need to either delete your documents from your Dropbox (after you have saved them to another program or app) or you can upgrade to a 50GB or 100GB version for $9.99 or $19.99 per month.

Image from http://turin.nss.udel.edu/wiki/dropbox/doku.php

Creating Book Trailers using Flip Minos

flip-minoBack in May 2009, I wrote about using Flip video cameras in the classroom.  At the time, I was using a Flip Ultra, but my challenge recently has been to use Flip Mino cameras with Year 8 students to create book trailers, as we have 20 of these cameras at school.

The Mino is smaller than the Ultra, and very easy to slip into your pocket when travelling. It also can be recharged by plugging the USB port or cable into your computer, compared to replacing batteries in the Ultra. The screen is smaller, and the controls are touch rather than buttons, but this doesn’t seem to be a problem.

If you’d like more of a comparison of the two, take a look at these videos:   Flip Mino HD vs Flip Ultra HD and  Flip Ultra HD vs Flip Mino HD.

You can make quick book reviews using the FlipShare software which comes as part of  the Flip camera, but if you want to make a more sophisticated book trailer, you will probably want to take your Flip video and drop it into a program like Movie Maker or iMovie.  Videos taken by Flip cameras are in MP4 format which is supported by iMovie and QuickTime, and playable on iPods, iPhones and  iTunes, but unfortunately not by Windows Movie Maker XP which only recognises AVI and WMV files. For this reason, if you wish to import your video into Movie Maker you will first need to convert it using a free program like Any Video Converter or Zamzar.  If you have Windows 7.0, however, you probably already have  Windows Live Movie Maker (or you can download it here), and this very streamlined, updated version will accept MP4 files.  Just follow the instructions in this tutorial.

Below is a SlideShare presentation by Naomi Bates of  Northwest  High School in Texas, showing how to use Movie Maker and Animoto for creating book trailers.  (See some of her examples here)

Creating Book Trailers

Tutorials for Book Trailer Software

Using Movie Maker

Using a Flip Video Camera


Where to get free sounds and images

Image of Flip Mino from  http://www.gizmodiva.com/entry_images/0608/13/flip-mino.jpg

Tagxedo Word Pictures

Wordle was the first of the word cloud generators, and it captured the interest and imagination of teachers and students around the world.  Then came Tagul, with the ability to form a limited number of images, rather than abstract shapes.

Now, an exciting new website is set to revolutionise word cloud pictures: Tagxedo, developed by Hardy Leung, is a sophisticated generator with an amazing ability to create recognizable images from words. You can choose from one of the options available, or even upload your own image shape. Take a look at some of these images from the Tagxedo Gallery

Tagxedo Word Cloud PicturesImage from http://www.tagxedo.com

In order to create Tagxedo word pictures, you first need to install a Microsoft program called Silverlight, but the website prompts you to do this before you begin. Once you are ready, upload your content – which can be text from a book, a website, a blog, a speech, a letter – whatever you choose. Tagxedo will adjust the size of the words, depending on how may times they are used. It also leaves out small ‘stop words’, so you only get the main content of the text.  There is an extensive range of options to choose from: over 30 themes (colour combinations), over 30 fonts and 30 free shapes. Currently Tagxedo is in beta form and is free, but later you will be able to opt for more functionality and a wider choice of shapes by choosing to pay.

Tagxedo Shapes

Similarly to Tagul, when you hover your mouse over  a word in your Tagxedo image, it will spin and enlarge so you can read it, but it doesn’t seem to link you to a website as Tagul does (which possibly could be a good thing!)

The images created by Tagxedo, and their derivatives, are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike License 3.0, and must be attributed to http://www.tagxedo.com

Inserting Video into PowerPoint 2007

If you’ve ever linked to a YouTube movie during a presentation, then tried to go back into your PPT, you’ll realise that it can look messy if you can’t reconnect to the viewer mode of your PPT.

This how-to video by Laura Bergells explains a great way to seamlessly play a YouTube movie in PPT, just by linking to it, but without actually downloading and embedding it. It looks as if you’ve downloaded it, and plays within your presentation, but it is actually just a link. What you do need, however, is a live internet connection for this to work.

A quick overview of the steps involved:

1.  Insert /open the Developer tab on your PPT ribbon, then open the toolbox

2.  Insert a Shockwave Flash Object from the toolbox list by drawing a box on your slide

3.  Copy the URL of the movie you want to insert, R click on your box, open up Properties, then paste the URL in the empty cell beside ‘Movie’

4. Delete “watch?”, and replace “=” with “/”

5.  Go to the full screen mode to play your movie, and note that you can also pause or adjust the volume within your PPT presentation

6.  Once you have played the movie, a screen capture ot it will appear in the box

6.  To seamlessly progress to the next slide, simply click your mouse – beautiful!!