Kim’s Blog

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Archive for Technology

Viva Las Vegas!

My husband and I returned from our trip to Las Vegas.  We celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary this past December and had never been on a honeymoon so my husband surprised me with the trip.  We have never spent more than a couple of days away from our children so after carefully arranging grandparents to stay with the kids, we applied for passports and began to plan the trip.  I used to travel quite a bit before we were married so after a ten year hiatus, I have noticed a number of differences in travel.

First of all, we printed our boarding passes off at home before we left for the airport.  Everyone is aware of the tight restrictions at the security gate.  On the aircraft, I had my own personal TV.  There were no TV dinners provided (I had always loved those) but I did have my green tea and a cookie to dip.  As we went through Customs in the US, they simply swiped our passports to gain all of our information instantly and in some cases, travellers were required to provide fingerprints (on a screen) and eye scans. 

So with all of this technology, I was surprised to discover that debit cards were not used in the States.  When I obtained some American currency, the bank teller told me I would not be able to use my debit card, but I had assumed it was because of the difference in currency.  My credit card was ready to melt from over-use though.

The Shows.  We went to Elton John’s The Red Piano show and what a show it was!  His commentary between songs was quite funny.  He had lots of blow ups props throughout the show as well as a huge screen which showed various video montages.  Yet, with all of the amazing visuals, the best part of the show was his voice and the piano.

We went back in time to the Tournament of Kings.  Cutlery was not even provided at this medieval feast so I shall not describe the technology incorporated into this show (fanastic experience though!).

Criss Angel and Cirque du Soleil – I guess it depends who you ask.  My husband found the show to lack the magic and be too theatrical.  I come from a theatre background – I loved it and I was astonished by the props.  They must have had an enormous area backstage for everything that arrived on stage from the wings and from the ceiling.  The costumes were phenomenal.  And there was magic too.  Like Elton John’s show, there was a huge screen for video support.

In 1997 I spent six weeks in Europe on a tour of a number of countries.  I brought four or five rolls of film with me.  I had to be careful of what I took pictures of because it was not easy to find the film I needed and I also knew how costly it would be when I got home to process the film.  Digital cameras are essential for any traveller.  Granted, I didn’t take hundreds of pictures, but I didn’t worry about how many or what I was taking pictures of. 

Seeing Paris in Vegas

Seeing Paris in Vegas

Despite the changes in technology in the world, it still saddened me to see people on the street all day handing our cards for girls on the strip.  Technology continues to bring us closer together and yet, I can see that I live worlds apart from many other people.

Vlog

I never thought I would do this, but to truly step out of my comfort zone, I felt I must post a vlog.  This has probably been my most uncomfortable experiences thus far.

New toys online

Oops, sorry – this was an unfiltered publication.  On Friday I was at an amazing workshop with Kathy Cassidy.  I played with some new tools and toys on my class blog and I was trying to embed some of these neat things here.  The Internet went down in the afternoon so I didn’t get a chance to finish this and then I left town for the weekend.  I was able to embed this shelfarion my class blog which is an image of a bookshelf with the books you have read, are presently reading, or are planning to read.  It’s really cool and I’m hoping it’s another communication tool for parents.  Perhaps if parents see the books we are reading in class, they may be encouraged to reread the stories with their children. 

I also added the Weather Pixie and the ClustrMap.  I think the ClustrMap was mentioned in our class but I hadn’t had a chance to try it until Friday.  I used Imagechef to add a picture to our blog.  With this tool you can choose a picture from their files and add your own message.

Question – I have been able to use these tools with ClassBlogmeister but I’m stuck trying to add these images to this WordPress Blog.  Does anyone know what I need to do to make these compatible with this blog?

Animoto

I discovered this program called Animoto from Leanne’s blog and I meant to try using this tool for our pancake movie but forgot about it until after I was done. So this is a short 30 second blip to try Animoto. It was quick, easy to use, has images and music available for people to access.
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I have learned a lot using this tool – sometimes I feel so stupid!  I was trying to find the URL to link this video and I actually kept sending this video to myself all the while not realizing it!  This is even easier than I thought – now that I have it figured out. 

Simple – set up an account (1 minute), choose a theme, choose images within the theme, choose your favorite type of music, choose a specific song, click on edit (in all 4 minutes), wait for processing (maybe 5 minutes), choose from about six choices of what you would like to do (such as download, e-mail, embed, etc. – less than 1 minute), once posted to blog – locate under edits and voila – it’s done!

Waiting…

Today my students presented a play for their parents at lunch time. We worked all week to learn lines, to learn where students should stand and how students could act, we painted backgrounds and we made masks.  The kids were SO excited for their parents to come to school and to perform the play.  I told them that I would record the performance and upload it to our wiki for those parents who were unable to come.  I also explained that we would make and wear masks for the recorded performance only.

I decided to try one of the new flip cameras at school.  I really liked the ease of use while I recorded.  I liked the way that I could hold the camera with just one hand.  I had trouble loading the videos on my computer at school because there are so many cords beside the ports that I could not connect the flip camera.  I tried to load the videos on one of the laptops.  I could connect the camera itself but I could not get the program up and running.  I brought the camera home and I was able to quickly load the videos.

Once the videos were loaded, there was a program that put everything into a video.  For some reason I opted for background music and after waiting for 10 minutes for everything to configure and do it’s thing, I realized that was a dumb idea so I opted for no background music, and waited another 10 minutes.  I watched the complete video only to realize that I had a double video in there and I didn’t want to edit and wait another 10 minutes so I decided to use my tried and true, Window Movie Maker program.  It has it’s own glitches but I know those glitches and what to do with them.

The other thing I like about the Windows Movie Maker is that I can add titles, animation and I can add transitions.  I put the video together, saved it, and waited another five minutes for this process to take place.  Please keep in mind that this play is only three minutes long!

I then went to add the video to our class wiki, only to then realize that I have to convert it to YouTube as I have not figured out a way to simply add a video from my library to the wiki.  Right now I’m waiting for YouTube to save this video (it’s been 10 minutes already!).  Ooh, now it’s uploaded, but processing (I’m taking bets – 10 minutes?).

Enjoy!

Technology and Sports

The North Battleford Comprehensive High Senior Boys Basketball team are the provincial champs (and to you Meadow Lake fans – it was a hard fought battle; a great final with a great team which easily could have gone either way). 

Why does this matter to me?  My husband is the coach.  He has coached this team for the past eight years and as we investigated the history of NBCHS and Hoopla, we realized this was the first win ever for the Comp.  The trophy dates back to 1967.  The closest they came was in 2006 when they won silver.  My husband dedicates hours for practice during the week and hours on the weekends for tournaments.  The win makes these hours seem worthwhile.

What does this have to do with technology?  Well, since the Star Phoenix and CTV News seem to only recognize Saskatoon and Regina teams as well as a few other teams and divisions, it becomes necessary for people who are unable to attend the games to find other ways to discover the outcomes of games.  Now that all of the hoopla is over, my husband has been contacted by these news sources in an effort to report the results but nothing had been mentioned pre-hoopla.  We were able to access theSHSAAwebsite (which needs to be updated and more user friendly by the way) to see the draws, scores and brief write ups about the games.  The players and the coach are able to instantly text or phone with cel phones to notify family and friends of game outcomes.  As my husband drives into town, the kids can contact family to make arrangements for rides home from the school. 

Who knew that technology could have such an impact on sports?

Connecting Like Cavemen

I have been experiencing a strained relationship with my daughter recently.  I know that because of my studies, I have not devoted as much time to my children as they evidently need.  On Friday night we found ourselves alone together as my husband was out of town and my other daughter was at a sleep over.  Usually, my oldest has swim practice on Friday evenings.  I do not allow her to miss her events except for special circumstances, and this seemed like a special circumstance. 

I was faced with the choice of making her go to swim practice or spending quality time together – just the two of us.  Well, the answer seemed obvious to me and necessary to make a connection with her.  I then thought about her interests – how would we spend this time together?  She’s a nature nut, so that answer quickly became obvious too.  

After school we picked up the dog, bought a few groceries and headed to an island between the two communities we live and work in.  We took the dog (and ourselves) for a very long nature walk.  After our nature walk we picked up our supplies from the van, found a fire pit, built a fire, roasted wieners and marshmallows, and connected like cavemen – no we didn’t wrestle around or hunt mammoths, but we connected without talking, without distractions.  We didn’t say a lot, we didn’t discuss our problems, although we easily could have.  Instead we listened to the wind rustle the dry leaves left hanging in the trees, we listened to the fire crackle, and my daughter’s favorite – we listened to the snow sizzle when we put out the fire. 

We connected on a human level.  I have been making a number of connections throughout my journey – connecting with classmates, connecting with parents and students, social networks and connecting ideas but I have been missing the most important connection of all – the connections I have(n’t) been making with my own children.

Okay, I have to admit that I did bring some 21st century technology with me to our caveman experience – a cel phone, but I can explain!!!  As I was playing around with the pictures from my cel phone, I realized that I could create a cartoon of my daughter so I could upload her picture onto my blog without showing her face!

winter wiener roast