UNIC

UniCDon’t forget today’s post about the event, with the photos. We would love your comments there too!
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ScratchEd is an online community where Scratch educators can discover the latest news, share resources, and ask questions if stuck.

Support materials, and ideas, range from those suitable for preschool and kindergarten children, through elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, college and universities and others. Subjects like computer science, mathematics, music, science. and much more.

If you’re new to Scratch, and curious about computational creation, but not sure where to start, begin here. This gives some good support for your first steps in this form of programming.

If you’re familiar with Scratch, and want ideas for how to introduce other people to it, dive in here.

For those experienced with Scratch, go deeper here for fresh ideas and strategies.
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Cargo Bot is a fun and challenging game that students can play to learn some principles of logic and programming. The object of the game is to program a robot to complete increasingly complex sequences of tasks. Students start out by programming the robot to move one box from point A to point B.

After successfully programming the robot you are advanced to programming more complex tasks like a repeating a loop of movements.

Find the Cargo-Bot app HERE. “A puzzle game where you teach a robot how to move crates”. Sounds simple, right? Try it out! A stack of fun!
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Bee-Bot, an established name in the world of programming in schools, have developed a FREE app that acts as a superb introduction to control. The familiar yellow and black striped robot character, we have seen whizzing across the floor of many classrooms, now forms the central character in an iPad/pod app.

Use the Bee-Bot keyboard functions to program directions, and turns, in to a sequence to guide the bot through engaging garden scenes. Twelve timed, and star awarded levels, will appeal to children from aged four up.

There is an advert for the Bee-Bot pyramid game (which is not free) but no other product placement. Well worth an investigation, to get younger children thinking.
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A.L.E.X. has proven to be an intriguing step in the programming pathway. It takes the LEFT, STEP, RIGHT, STEP, TURN aspect of control, and adds some superb additional challenges, to negotiate your robot, A.L.E.X., across, sometimes moving, sets of platforms.

This free app, is designed with superb animated style. A.L.E.X. helps you think and plan logically as you program your little character with a sequence of commands to get through each level from start to finish. The lower levels are suitable for children as young as 6 but it’s enjoyable for adults too!

The FREE VERSION includes 25 levels, and a feature to create your own puzzle
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The Atlas Robot is a two legged robot that was built primarily for search and rescue tasks. DARPA, the United States Department of Defense, was primarily responsible for its production and design. Oliver Diaz’s digital recreation, in iPad app format, is a fascinating augmented reality experience

Whilst not perfect, you can sequence small movements and it does have a significant wow factor! Print out the AR target, and get Atlas moving!

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One of the problems I am sure you often encounter, as we do as we travel, is a huge, and sometime illogical, set of filters on online sites and resources. Sometime strict filtering, whilst understandable on some levels, is also frustrating and doesn’t allow people to fulfill their professional duties.

I am not going to get on my hobbyhorse (again!) but I do think there is a lot of utterly inncouous but powerful material that can not be used in some regions (and yet is open in others) and Youtube is one of those repositories of valuable information which gets blocked. This is often not because of the films themselves. Rather, because of the comments that people make when they are often trying out their rude spellings!

You still have to excersise professional judgement as to whether or not content is suitable and valuable, but there are a few ways to display content that you know is appropriate to your pupils, even when it held at bay in school. Here is just one:

Quietube is, as it says: “Video without the distractions”

To watch web videos without the comments and !@£$%^&, just drag the button (on the site) to your browser’s bookmarks bar. On any of the supported video pages, ( YouTube, BBC iPlayer, Viddler, and Vimeo) click the bookmark button to watch in peace.

You can then make short URLs too, to send the quietube version to others. Easy as 1, 2, shhhhh.
(You will have to create the Quietube link at home, and then go to that URL in school).

Here’s an example.Here’s a quick tutorial.
Here they are on Twitter.

You might have some trouble with a few uploaders who prohibit embedding, but it is well worth the try.

There are others (to follow) but Quietube really is simple & instant. Oooh! Look at all that lovely white space!
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CS Unplugged.org is a collection of free learning activities that teach Computer Science through engaging games and puzzles that use analog ways of considering digital ideas… cards, string, crayons and lots of running around.

The activities introduce students to underlying concepts such as binary numbers, algorithms and data compression, without all the distracting technical details we usually have to negotiate with “the real thing”.

CS Unplugged is suitable for many different ages, from elementary school to seniors.

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CleVR provides a suite of online tools for creating and sharing panoramic photos.

The CleVR Stitcher is a free Adobe AIR application that will automatically stitch photos into a panorama. These are uploaded and displayed in a Flash viewer on the CleVR site. This can also be embedded into other sites and blogs. Interactive hotspots can be added to the panorama, which can be clicked to display photos and text. Sign up is required, but the program is FREE.

The software deliberately has fewer features than other photo stitching software, as the focus is on simplicity and ease of use. Stitching & uploading a panorama takes around 5 minutes & is fully automatedThe one you see, to the right, is not perfect as we did it at great pace, down at the side of the Bosphorus. Take a little more care and we wouldn’t have the gap on the far shore, or a blurred dome. Hey ho!Get pupils to make a virtual tour of your school maybe, and embed it on a blog or website? A still image AND a moving panorama!CleVR eh? And, easy. Panorama of Bebek Hotel Istanbul on CleVR.com

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QuicktimeVR’s and panoramas are superb tools for stimulating discussion as well. Some of the best can be found at Panoramas.dk, a huge and glorious collection of QTVRs of every landscape and event imaginable.

Don’t forget, stand still, and get the most from a static sight, before you even think about moving.
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As big fans of virtual panoramas, such as those to be found at Panoramas.dk, we can also recommend the excellent Arounder, for a collection of panoramas from locations around the world. Great for inspiring talk for writing.

It is important to not forget to take the time to stand still in each Panorama and write or discuss – before you even think about moving. It is the first movement that creates a bit of magic when using these with children.

Don’t forget that you can also make your own panoramas with CleVR, Dermander, Photosynth and others.
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Have YOU tried PhotoSynth yet? Photosynth offers two styles for creating immersive 3D experiences: synths and panoramas… and now its mobile too.

You can tilt and turn your way around a sight, zooming in on closer detail, and it is remarkably simple to create these engaging experiences.

Choose a panorama when you can capture everything from a single location with a single zoom level. Great for giving a sense of what it feels like to be in a one particular place. Can be 360° in both directions, but doesn’t have to be. Panoramas are simple to navigate – you can go left/right, up/down and zoom in/out.

Synths are good for capturing different sides or details of an object. More complex to navigate than panoramas because you are moving from photo to photo., and somewhat more complex to create.

To make panoramas from your desktop, install Image Composite Editor and the Photosynth application.

To make synths, just install the Photosynth application.

The Photosynth app is available now for iOS in the iTunes App Store.

Other operating systems are supported too….

To make panoramas from your iPhone, get the Photosynth App from Apple’s App Store.

We have tried it on a few scales: sat inside a car, and out in the great wide open. Both have problems but still end up being remarkable, speedy, ways to remember somewhere, and explore it again later. Try it in a room with a group who aren’t able to sit still, and you get some gloriously, almost Picasso-like, mix ups. Worth exploring and developing this aspect, and turn it in to a strength in art project perhaps.

I wanted to give a shout out for PhotoSynth again, as I think it has a lot of additional potential now it has gone mobile. It might also be a good end of year challenge for some pupils: to make a virtual tour of the school they are leaving, for example, whether using the mobile, or desktop, version.
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“A picture is worth a thousand words” and ThingLink helps you tell your stories, because images can come alive with connections to music, video, photographs, text, and more! Create interactive scenes. Build, share, touch and discover.
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Something we have used for quite a while now, and involve as just one step in the process of bringing worlds alive, with the schools we work alongside, is the wonderful Google Street View Stereographic. This joyous gem makes your very own, free, explorable, mini planets!

Visit your location, in StreetView Stereographic, & then learn to fly, as it is possible to move around within your world.

Just one way remember, but a fantastic stimulus for talk, discussion, talk for writing, and a whole lot more. Fun! _______________________________________________________________________________________________

Now THIS is something worth a massive exploration: Soundation is a most impressive online digital music machine that has huge potential.

The FREE version allows a lot (except you can’t save or mix down your end results).
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Nature Sound Map, enables exploration of the wonders of the world, in some superb ambient audio recordings of landscapes, and animals, across the globe ~ from a rock pool in Devon, to jackals in the Kalahari, …& beyond. Sound!

A group of professional nature recordists from around the globe have collaborated to develop Nature Soundmap, an enjoyable and interactive way of exploring the natural sounds of our planet. Combining high-quality field recordings with the latest satellite imagery, the project brings together some of nature’s most beautiful, interesting & inspiring sounds.

Hear the World Like Never Before

Immerse yourself in a pulsating insect chorus in Borneo’s tropical rainforest, or climb the Himalayas and relax to the melodies of birdsong in an alpine meadow. Use Nature Soundmap to discover the wonderful soundscapes and wildlife sounds of our planet.

Many recordings in the collection are ‘binaural’ soundscapes, in other words, stereo recordings made with two microphones which capture sound in 360 degrees.This recording technique most accurately imitates the natural experience you would hear with your own two ears and provides a realistic representation of all of the sounds in a particular habitat or location. If you sit back, close you eyes and relax while listening to a well-recorded soundscape, it doesn’t take long before you feel like you’re actually there!

Great to enhance the atmosphere of a space, or create the soundtrack to the piece of descriptive narrative perhaps. Enjoy your exploring. Sounds good eh? _______________________________________________________________________________________________

Ambient Mixer makes it possible to listen to free audio atmospheres, or mix your own ambient sounds online.

Great for making background sounds to a piece of music, or descriptive narrative? Use as an underscore, to inspire talk for writing, as a way of making the soundtrack to a podcast or other audio broadcast.

Listen to relaxing music, ambient atmospheres and astonishing sound effect, use endless audio loops, or upload your own, to create a unique audio mix.

No software installations required. All ready made, mixable atmospheres use royalty free audio files, thanks to the Creative Commons Sampling Plus license.

A good way of experiencing mixing of sounds, level, crossfade, left to right placement, and more. You need to pay to download the end result, but don’t need to & the process itself is free. Enjoy some relaxing sounds whilst you plan too.
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With this sound board you could create a calming sonic atmosphere within your classroom. Mix the relative levels, and panned position, of different sounds, from a choice of birdsong, bonfire, creek, crickets, gulls, ocean, rain, thunder, and wind chime sound effects, & music. Sound!

Try Go Mix It too
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Like many people, we are big fans of Wordle and similar word cloud generators.

Our post on Wordles of Character created a bit of trend, with people from all over the place sending their own, pieces of art.

We have been having fun with students, exploring the magic of Tagxedo, since then.

Tagxedo brings a word-cloud alive. The layout of each cloud can be manipulated to a great level of detail: colour, shape, rotation and more.

When you hover your cursor over a word within that cloud, it spins, and forms a hyperlink to your chosen URL. (The default being a Google search based on that word.

Here is one on the theme of feet. Have fun experimenting.
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This could be very useful. Това може да бъде много полезен. 這可能是非常有用的。To by mohlo být velmi užitečné. Det kunne være meget nyttigt. Αυτό θα μπορούσε να είναι πολύ χρήσιμο. これは非常に有用かもしれない.

With Nice Translator, you just start typing, and it automatically turns what you have written in to multiple languages, all in one go.

This can be in your choice of Arabic, Bulgarian, Catalan, Chinese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Creole, Hebrew, Hindi, Hmong Daw, Hungarian, Italian, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Latvian, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Persian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Slovenian, Slovak, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, & Vietnamese. A fascinating experience of languages.
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Snappy Words is a bit like InstaGrock, GraphWords, WordSift and Visuwords and has the advantage that you can sometimes double click on a node to dig deeper.

It’s an online interactive English dictionary and thesaurus that helps you find the meanings of words and draw connections to associated words. You can easily see the meaning of each piece of vocabulary by simply placing the mouse cursor over it.

Learn how words associate in a visually interactive display. Get ideas to help write content for your blog, article, thesis or simply play with words!

For younger children, Snappy Words shows that words are malleable, playful delights, to be picked up & juggled with. For older students, it beats “right clicking words in Word”!

Type words in the search box and click Go or simply hit Enter. Once the words branch off the main query, you can double click a node to find other related words. To explore the features:

Place the mouse cursor over a word to view the meaning.
Double click a node from the branch to view other related words.
Scroll the mouse wheel over words to zoom in or out. This helps you see more
associations or view words and meanings more clearly.
Click and drag a word or branch to move it around and explore other branches.

Try out GraphWords, WordSift and Visuwords to see which one you find the most useful. Remember that InstaGrock uses the interlinked word and concepts graph, and then allows you to dig in a different way too. But the others focus on the word play and vocabulary aspects more fully.

Snappy Words requires no registration or software installation. All you need is an internet connection and a browser (Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer and others). It’s free and fun! _______________________________________________________________________________________________

Useful Pickie 028Spicy Nodes is something we have linked to before, but feel that is well worth further exploration. Present, store, link and group …almost anything.

Text, links, photos, and other media — are placed into “nodes,” which are then linked together in an attractive, interactive interface that invites exploration.

Spicy Nodes allows you to add pieces of information and embed images and youtube videos. These elements can then be linked together as a mind map which, as you click on different ‘nodes’, changes to show all the linked bits and bobs.

One use: a research tool in that children can investigate a particular topic, link, and then expand upon, the information already posted. How about using Spicy Nodes for lesson or topic planning?

Useful Pickie 029

Useful Pickie 027A delightful aspect of Spicy Nodes is that there are many design styles you can manipulate, to make your mind map unique.

You can embed links to external sites as well as create links to existing nodes.

Another use of Spicy Nodes, or any mind map, can be to present a non-linear argument or debate – opening up aspects, as they are needed, to add an argument to a group’s standpoint. Powerful.

These dancing, malleable, interactive collections of thoughts, notes, headings, and more, can be viewed and manipulated full screen, and embedded into other sites. _______________________________________________________________________________________________

Talk Typer is a great online speech to text tool, which works within the Google Chrome browser. It does need a little help with some punctuation and, like any speech recognition, can make some mistakes, but is a good free way to experiment with spoken-to-written word. _______________________________________________________________________________________________
From Text To Speech is a free online Text To Speech (TTS) service with natural sounding voices. The voices aren’t quite as convincing as those in Ivona, great for its accents and languages) but, after you have converted your text, you can then save your phrses into MP3 audio file to play it on your computer or iPod ~a useful tool.
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Thank you to Gwynfor Owen (on the left here) for translating this. You could try Ivona to do some word juggling for you.

Hello, my name is Tim, We are looking at some IT to inspire you. This is an on line instrument which works in a number of languages, including the Language of Heaven, which is Welsh of course

Helo, fy enw i yw Tim. ‘Rydym yn edrych ar dechnoleg gwybodaeth i’ch ysbrydoli. Mae hwn yn offeryn ar lein sydd yn gweithio mewn llawer iawn o ieithoedd yn cynnwys iaith y Nefoedd sef Y Gymraeg wrth gwrs.

Ivona create some superb, paid for, text to speech software, but on their Ivona Home Page, you get the chance to hear your words spoken by some quite convincing voices, as a free preview. What is good is that you can do so in English, Welsh, English with a Welsh (or Australian) lilt, or other languages such as Italian, Castillian Spanish, Polish & Brazillian Portuguese. _______________________________________________________________________________________________

Taggalaxy for solar systems of images and words. Epic Citadel, a peaceful medieval landscape, to wonder through, on your iPad, and Epic Citadel Online. Dragon Dictation might be a good way to turn talk in to writing for real.

Padlet creates sticky notes on endless pages. Runkeeper tracks where you’ve been on a school excursion.

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That’s it spuddlyduddlies. We would love to know your thoughts, what you try, and what others you find, and can suggest. Enjoy!

Remember, there are over 900 other links out there on the rest of the blog.