Edtechs Blog

Edtechs Blog

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Edtechs have a blast using the Hue Animation Studio to make their own jungle movie

Edtechs had a great time this week learning the tips and tricks to "movie making" with animation software. Check out the result on youtube !

The movie was made using Hue Animation Software (for the stop motion), a Hue HD Cam (to capture the pictures) and RM Easiteach Software (to create the background and characters. 
We were complete novices but quickly got to grips with the basic concepts and software, then the imagination started to flow and we experimented with the depth of our scene, zooming and panning, story line and much more - it was a really fun experience and could easily see how students of all ages can use movie making across a wide range of curriculum subjects. From recreating a scene from their favourite habitat and animals using a simple software like Easiteach, to re-enacting Hamlet with Lego men - stop motion movie making is a engaging activity that will inspire students of all ages.... and you never know... it might make your class famous ! 

Seven sizzling ideas for using Rainbow Big Points in your classroom...

From quiz buzzers to memory games to a classroom orchestra...try these easy to prepare and fun activities with your Rainbow Big Points, Recordable pegs or Talking Points... then hand over to the students to create their own versions to try !
1) Quiz Buzzers

Record on your big point "ring tones" from your mobile telephone, and then use the Big Point as your team buzzers in a classroom quiz. 
You can get a free app of animal sounds and record these into your Big Points for a different set of buzzer sounds or get the kids to record their own team cheer or chant !

2) Audio Memory Games and Quizzes

Record sets of words and sounds on your big points, here are some idea's
Matching words (like "apple" and "apple", "pear" and "pear" etc) 
Corresponding words and sounds (like "dog" and "woof", "cow" and "moo" etc)
Opposites (like "up" and "down" and "over" and under")
Translations (like "hello" and "salut", "bon nuit" and "good night" etc)
History Quiz (like "1066" and "the battle of hastings")
Maths (like "4x7" and "28" or even more complex... like "25-17" and "2x4")
The possibilities are endless !
The students can then play the traditional game of matching pairs, or a whole heap of other memory games to help them hone their skills and knowledge.

3) Beat Boxes 
Record on your big points some random sounds - car door closing, cat meowing, train or bus passing by, or students rumbling in the canteen !
What tunes or rhythms can teams compose using these sounds ? 

4) Treasure Hunt and question-teering !
Record on your big points the clues for a treasure hunt and then set them up as a trail for students to work through....
Great end of term activity... get the whole school to work together and record a set of clues and questions for each classroom using all the recordable devices you have available. Then the treasure hunt is school wide and everybody can get involved.

5) Classroom Orchestra
Record musical instruments and notes on your big points and the class can produce some "cover versions" of favourite tunes or create some new tunes of their own.
Can these sound and instrument recordings be used as supplements in your class or schools bands... or even to make a new class band ? 

6) Descriptive Language Game
Record descriptions or sounds of objects (like a bus or a kangaroo) on your big points and see how many the students can identify. 
Ask students to create their own descriptions of objects they can see, find or remember, then swop big points around and see whose objects can be identified from the recordings... whose object was the easiest or hardest to identify ? why ? 

7) Messaging
Use a big point on your door or desk or a message board. 
You can quickly leave messages for students or colleagues; a reminder about homework, tests, excursions, your whereabouts etc. 
The recorbable pegs have a handy hole, so you can leave them on hooks and hangers (in kitchens, on doors or coat hooks and the like). The Big points have a hang hole in the back which fits snugly onto  screw head, for hanging on doors, walls, notice boards etc. Sticky velcro also works for Big points and talking points.
The Story sequencer is also excellent for leaving messages and also using in any of the activities above. It has 6 recordable buttons, each which you can slip a small card / label / picture into. You can leave messages or instructions for groups, or about days of the week, anything really. It also has great sound playback clarity and volume and so is excellent for using as a sound box for making stop motion or green screen movie activity sounds tracks.

Using Tami Mechanical or Electronic Robot Kits in your classroom will encourage students to...

Using Tami Mechanical or Electronic Robot Kits in your classroom will encourage students to

Communicate and brainstorm, 
Work in teams, pairs or individually
Develop solutions, select, build, test and evaluate
Gain hands-on experience with control, mechanics, sensors, motors and an endless amount of construction, building and modelling opportunities.
The Tami Education range offers great classroom solutions for Robotics and Science & Technology, through introducing students to robotic concepts in a hands-on, engaging and fun way. 
The robotic kits and helpful educational guides assist teachers and students to implement a step-by-step program to teach and learn technological concepts.
Start with the Tami Mechanical Robot Kit, to learn about robot construction and components (gears, levers, pulleys, axles etc) and teach youngsters to design and build functional machines, then move on to more sophisticated sensory robots and computer programming, through using Tami Electronic Robot Kit.
Tami Mechanical Robot Kit
Tami Mechanical Robot Kit offers step-by-step instructions for young students to build twelve robots. With detailed building and programming instructions, kids (and parents) are introduced to mechanical construction as they build pre-designed models that walk, crawl or roll. Once the basic concepts have been grasped kids can create their own models and robots; to solve a challenge, complete a task or just for fun ! 

The kit comprises all you need including a comprehensive set of construction parts, motors, gears, wheels and battery pack.

The kit also includes teaching resource and activity packs to aid teaching relating to construction, mechanics, gears, ratios, movement, solving engineering challenges and much more.

Tami Electronic Robot Kit
Tami Electronic Robot kit enables students to build robots with electronic circuits and develop control programs with sensory robots too. The resources pack contains step-by-step instructions to build eight robots with electronic circuits and introduces sensors to robots, along with how to programme the movement and actions of the model too. 
All items you need are included in the Tami Electronic Robot kit including a comprehensive set of construction parts, motors, gears, wheels and battery pack, along with “snap together” electronic components too; Controller (CPU and motor drive board), LED’s, touch sensor, light sensor, contact sensor, infrared sensor and buzzer) 
The kit also includes teaching resource and activity packs to aid teaching relating to construction, mechanics, electronics, movement, sensing, programming, solving engineering challenges and much more.

Here is a picture of Tami Electronic Robot Car

Here's a great free tool, to help you design a Learning Space or classroom furniture plan

The Isis Concepts floor space planner is a free to use tool, which teachers and educators can use to design learning space and classroom floor plans and furniture layouts. The tool can also be used to quickly and easily create professional 3d examples, showing how the potential learning spaces will look, work and feel.  The 3d learning spaces you create, can be rotated and zoomed, enabling you to look into your designs and get a true, to scale image, giving you a feel for the learning space, and how it will look and perform from various angles and perspectives.
Following is a quick “how to design a learning space” to help you get the most from the resource

Step1: Set-up
Click on the link below and choose a base to start from. Click to start with a “fresh design”.
Tip: Be prepared - have an idea of the activities and learning styles you want to deploy and the sorts of furniture you want to use. If your serious, measure up your space or consult the designs, and you can quickly create a scale diagram.

Step 2: Draw your room.

Click on the “draw room” icon on the “construction tab”. When you next click (and hold) on the grid, you will start to draw a rectangle. As you draw, a measuring tape will provide dimensions. Drag your room to the desired size.

To add another room, click again on the “draw room” icon on the “construction tab”, the start in the corner of the room you have created.

Tip: Use the internal dimensions for your learning space or classroom, both in this software and on any architectural plans / drawings you use for reference. If you measure inside your classroom, these are the measurements you will be recording.

Tip: You can get quite intricate with your learning space design shape, but this is largely time wasted - a simple design is often adequate – nooks and crannies, windows etc are time consuming to design in, and don’t add much to the overall benefit of using floorplan (at least not with this free tool)

Step 3: Add Learning space furniture to your floor plan design;

Click on the arm chair icon (located in the top left) and a furniture panel will appear. You can click and drag these items into your design, then orientate them by clicking (and highlighting) on them again. You can now spin or relocate, cut / copy / paste etc
Tip: You can lock items together, by holding shift when you select the piece. This is a useful time saver if you want to duplicate a space (like a circle of t41 individual tables and chairs)

Step 4: Create a 3d view

Once your floor plan design is complete, click on the 3d tab (located on the top right) and this will render your design into a 3d model of your classroom or learning space floor plan. Once loaded you can spin the room around, to get views from different angles of the learning space, and zoom in too, to get views from different positions and orientations ( a student view from a particular seat, the teacher view from the IWB, a guests view as they walk in through the door – all can be achieved.
Tip: Don’t zoom too close until you get a feel for the spin ability of the software. Click the arrows and you can step through the design in increments

Step 5: Output your learning space design from the software

Tip: The best way to output from the software is via a “print screen”. Once you have selected your 3d model viewpoint, take a screen shot (press Alt+print screen on most pc). You can then open up the picture in MS Paint, word or Powerpoint, or an IWB software such as Easiteach Next Generation - then you can add labels and comments about your learning space.

Here is the link:


Check it out...

Edtechs offer a free design service too. If you are planning to build a new learning space or create something in an existing classroom, why not drop us an email at enquiry@edtechs.com.au, and see how we can help.

Here some examples we have created;

Video Production is not just for Media Studies – use it in every subject area and for cross-curricular projects.

Video Production is not just for Media Studies – use it in every subject area and for cross-curricular projects.
Helps students with:
  • Reading 
  • Writing
  • Speaking
  • Presenting
  • Collaboration
  • Researching
  • Video skills
Some ideas for projects involving video production:
Geography - create weather forecasts and reports – explaining understanding of weather systems / climate. 
Languages - create a news or weather report in another language with footage of France or a scene from China, etc. as a backdrop
History - use footage from the past and report or take part in the action: e.g. wars, gold-panning, walk along the Great Wall of China…
English - retell stories, act in part of a play, novel or movie.
Marketing and / or business studies - create an advert for an imaginary or real product
PE - provide a sports report or commentary on favorite sporting moments or school fixtures
Music - Create music videos 
Video production is also a good tool for use technology in Drama.
School Community - create weekly news bulletin (add the to youtube or your school website) with reports of sports matches, trips, projects, etc. Create a video prospectus for visitors, parents and younger children coming up to the school

Sphero is an engaging tool for all ages that can help your students learn and practice a range skills and disciplines.

Team building and communication skills, control and motor skills, creativity, design, history, construction - Sphero, the robotic ball, offers a whole lot more than just robotics, mechanics, physics, maths, science and technology!
Sphero is like nothing your students have seen before. It’s the first "robotic ball" device that you control with a tilt, touch, or swing from your smartphone or tablet. 
Use Sphero with individual students to practice motor skills and control. Ask teams to create technical or time trial circuits for Sphero to follow, to demonstrate the students control skills and create some maths data to analyse!  
Team Building and Communication Skills
Pair students up to practice and learn about communication and team building - a controller (distracted, blindfolded or wearing earmuffs) and a spotter (relaying directions through speech, signing, or in a foreign language). 

Sphero is a engaging tool for all ages that can help your students learn and practice a range of different skills and disciplines.

Project based learning - Jousting Robots
How about using Sphero as the engine for another robot or vehicle.... how can Sphero's energy and momentum be harnessed ?.... How about creating some Jousting Robots and competing them in a tournament - Knights of the Round Table style! Students can design and build their knights with a soft drink cup or bottle and a few straws and some sticky tape - hey presto, the last Knight standing is the winner! Work in teams to improve the designs and construction...
Sphero is controlled by Bluetooth and has a 50 foot plus range. Sphero is capable of reaching speeds of up to 3 feet per second and has precise control provided by an internal guidance system including gyro, accelerometer and compass. Sphero uses induction charging and will run full throttle for about an hour.

Today's Schools - Go behind the scenes of today's schools to see and hear the great teaching and learning taking place.

Go behind the scenes of today's schools to see and hear the great teaching and learning taking place. Understand the different jobs that people do in schools, see the fabulous programs that schools run for our students, meet a variety of experts with practical advice for teachers students and parents - all wrapped up in a light, breezy, entertaining 30 mins.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Sonic Blaster making some noise in Australian schools

The electronic whistle creating a stir in PE lessons...
The Sonic Blaster is a new electronic whistle that is gaining rave reviews in Australian schools. The easy to use device is ideal for sharing as the sound emitted is caused by a simple tap of a button, rather than the usual blowing method associated with whistles. No longer do teachers and students need to worry about potential sharing of bacteria with this clever little device. The Sonic Blaster produces a sharp 130dB noise which can last for as long as the user holds down the button. See what a teacher has to say about this nifty device:

"The Sonic Blaster is a great tool for me to use in my PE lessons. My students have also been enthralled by the novelty it brings just by being something different. The sound output is slightly different to a regular whistle which is actually better as the students stop what they're doing and immediately turn to see what it is, I don't usually get this luxury with a regular whistle.

We recently used the Sonic Blaster at our sports carnival which proved a huge success. Not only did we have the one unit being shared amongst multiple teachers, the device proved hugely popular as a replacement to the starter gun usually used. Students would no longer flinch on the starting line when they heard the sound to go, as opposed to the starter gun which proved somewhat terrifying to the younger children in our primary school.

Overall, my favorite aspect of the Sonic Blaster is the ability to change batteries, not that we have had to yet though."

-Andrew Privett
PE Teacher at St John's Narraweena

A big thanks to Andrew Privett for the insightful view into the benefits and functionality of the Sonic Blaster.