Saturday, January 17, 2009

Photosynth: Inauguration

I was listening to either CNN or MSNBC and the guy mentioned a new technology so I glanced up from laptop and he was demonstrating Photosynth. At first glance I thought it was a panorama maker---but wow! From the site:

Photosynths constitute an entirely new visual medium. Photosynth analyzes each photo for similarities to the others, and uses that data to build a model of where the photos were taken. It then re-creates the environment and uses that as a canvas on which to display the photos.

The news channel wants everybody who goes to the Inauguration to snap a photo when Obama raises his hand to be sworn in and upload it to the channels Photosynth. Check it out.

Image from: LiveLabs

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Do History

My love of primary source documents started innocently enough about 10 years ago. I went to a Classroom Connect Conference in California--my first. I signed up for a workshop presented by Jamie McKenzie, I don't remember what the workshop was about but I remember the activity that started my love of primary sources. He showed us this picture of the Coal Breaker Boys (from LOC) and said "Discuss who the leader is in this group". I thought to myself "Wow!"

I used to present at computer conferences, NECC and around my county and state. Designing my favorite workshop, "Using Primary Sources in the Classroom, I ran across one of most phenomenal resources I had ever seen (and may ever see). The website is called Do History, it tells the story of midwife Martha Ballard (1800s) through her diary. From the site:

DoHistory invites you to explore the process of piecing together the lives of ordinary people in the past. It is an experimental, interactive case study based on the research that went into the book and film A Midwife's Tale, which were both based upon the remarkable 200 year old diary of midwife/healer Martha Ballard. Although DoHistory is centered on the life of Martha Ballard, you can learn basic skills and techniques for interpreting fragments that survive from any period in history. We hope that many people will be inspired by Martha Ballard's story to do original research on other "ordinary" people from the past.

You can actually read and analyse the original diary with really snappy decoding tools. The site was developed through a grant, I'd hoped it was only the beginning of more "Do History" projects but alas it was a one and only. Now that's a project which can't be done with a Web 2.0 tool--have you ever seen anything like it? I'll be sharing some other great sites in the next few weeks.

Using Pictures To Inspire Writing

As I mentioned in the previous post I really like the idea of using images to inspire thinking, reflection, discussion and creativity. Have you seen this? PicLits "is a creative writing site that matches beautiful images with carefully selected keywords in order to inspire you. The object is to put the right words in the right place and the right order to capture the essence, story, and meaning of the picture". How cool is that?

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Pictures Used in Math

Dan Meyer ponders the perfect math "book" in his blog post The Math Textbook I Would Buy. He wants a series of images on CD that would re-enforce certain math concepts.

One of the commentors mentioned Problem Pictures, you know how much I like using photos, especially old ones. There are some problem pictures on the web but it looks like you'd need to buy the CD to get the full effect of how to use them. Here's a sample problem from the website:

Pile of oranges
How many oranges are here?

A shopkeeper builds a similar pile of oranges but with one extra layer.
How many oranges would this have?

What size of pile could you build with a box of 200 oranges?

Another commentor mentioned Learning in Motion. I love the idea of teaching math using real world examples, wonder if it helps cement the ideas?