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Aus Mac Ed Online hub for Australian educators using Apple Macintosh computers, iPods & iPhones Sat, 13 Sep 2008 08:40:32 +0000 en iPhone is perfect for ePortfolios! Thu, 11 Sep 2008 05:19:24 +0000 Paul Reid Education Hardware Web 2.0 UpdateI have recently initiated a new website called iPhone in Ed related to the relevance of iPhones as 21C learning tools.  iPhone in Education aims to collate, ed review and categorise applications made for the iPhone and specifically useful in teaching and learning.


Alas, cardiologist quite a few Mac related things have been ticking over in my mind. Or is this an open letter to Jonathan Ive? I’ve fantasised about iPhones place in education before; I’ve also publicly fantasised about ePortfolios before - please indulge me again.

Wiki/Blog server integrationRecently I attended a seminar by Professor Richard Kimbell from, pharm Director of Technology Education Research Unit, Goldsmiths’ College, University of London. This seminar provided an opportunity for educators in W.A. to learn about the use of PDAs and other digital technologies to support assessment. The event was summarised thus:

Embedding ICT across the curriculum (i.e. getting it out of ICT suites) has been a notoriously difficult and frequently unsuccessful enterprise. Embedding ICT into assessment practice might therefore be thought to be even more tricky. The use of mobile / hand-held digital technologies transforms the debate and makes possible a complete re-visioning of the teaching/learning/assessing relationship. The e-scape pilot (just completed in 15 schools) provides glimpses into the possible futures for e-assessment.

I am very interested in where we can go with ePortfolios and attending this seminar left me wondering about where PDAs will fit into the wider learning experiences possible within outcomes-based education. The research that has gone into making these design and technology activities engaging and relevant to students is commendable. I was particularly impressed with the modelling of a student’s design process via PDA in the form of traditional design sketches. Then the PDA recording of voices as assessed markers of the significant points in the action / reflection learning journey students were on. Communicating student work wirelessly and directly from the PDA into html to a teachers notebook or server is a remarkable leap in ePortfolio thinking. Then there was ability to have a secure web-based assessment by geographically disparate examiners that is proven to result in incredibly accurate holistic judgements made via a kind of web-based glanceware.

This e-portfolio system for the e-scape project was made in partnership with companies TAG Learning and Handheld Learning. Project member Tony Wheeler does a great job of summarising Phase 2 of the e-scape project here:

Phase 1 of the project had shown that PDAs would be good tools to focus on, principally because of their multi-functionality – for capturing drawings, photographs, writing and speech. For the phase 2 prototype we … would allow the handheld technology to ‘speak’ directly to the website [on the teachers notebook], enabling us to track – in real time – the evolution of learners’ portfolios in design workshops in schools.

What struck me as being the most relevant to teachers was the way that these handheld devices could be used not only for assessment but also in regular day-to-day learning. With a sufficiently robust server backbone and 802.11n wireless network. Outcomes based open-ended learning tasks are ideally suited to this combination of ICTs. And so is the iPhone!

Also worth checking out is this page where you can see the e-scape portfolio system learning journey in progress . This shows how the e-scape system linked PDAs dynamically to a web portfolio. This video shows how all the PDA input by a student (sketches, photos, text and audio) looks if it were to be edited together. A podcast with Professor Richard Kimbell and Tony Wheeler is available here. A podcast and pdf of the slideshow from the Perth seminar are available here. Thanks to Dr. Paul Newhouse for organising this public seminar through the ECU Centre for Schooling and Learning Technologies (CSaLT), and also to the Educational Computing Association of WA (ECAWA).

Now following Steve Job’s mantra of “Stay hungry, stay foolish” I write this open letter:

Dear Jonathan Ive,
You are a London lad with an appreciation of the rigour and sound process that needs to go into design. The work these future of these London designers here is surely something you’d like to support. I am sure Professor Kimbell and yourself would have a lot in common. With some consideration for web2.0 ePortfolio software the iPhone together with OSX server and Airport Extreme would slot straight into this educational setting the team at the TERU have exposed as being highly engaging and effective for student and teacher use.

Would Apple like to forge some new ground and come to the party early on this one? You already have all the technology - they just need to be merged slightly for education ends. iLife suite + Airport + OSX server + QuicKTime +WebKit (+blog +touch screen +iLife +iSight +sound +video etc) recording).

Warm regards,

]]> Blender 2.46 - new version of freeware 3D app Thu, 20 Mar 2008 13:38:34 +0000 Paul Reid ICT Software I spent some time in University making videos in 3D - a laborious process in Strata Studio Pro in 1997 where renders would take up to 36 hours for 30 seconds of footage. Such time did the G3 266GHz PowerMacs take to render that my team would take turns sleeping in the lab trying to make sure renders were complete.

With Kahootz 3 out around town and freeware like Blender 2.46 kicking around too, neurosurgeon there has never been a better time to get into 3D if your a school student. The 3D and CG industry is booming worldwide. And not just for games - in industry too. In WA 3D companies are commanding high prices for their immersive works.

Version 2.46 of Blender supports a new particle system with hair and fur combing tools, and fast and optimal fur rendering, a mesh deformation system for advanced character rigging, cloth simulation, fast Ambient Occlusion, a new Image browser, and that’s just the beginning. Check the extensive list of features here … have fun!

Boot Camp and Projector use Thu, 21 Feb 2008 22:25:09 +0000 krisolson Education Hardware Hi

I am having a hard time using a digital projector on an iMac running Tiger. I can make it work on the OSX side but I can not make the projector connect on the Windows side. Any ideas? Thanks! Kris

Inspiration News Mon, 15 Oct 2007 12:06:35 +0000 Greg Alchin Clippings My friends at Inspiration have asked me about what teachers in Australia are currently doing with Kidspiration and Inspiration. They are interested in publishing a few paragraphs about what people are doing and links to their files if you want to share them. If anyone at MICTi is interested or know of someone who is drop me a line ASAP. Many thanks in advance. cheers Greg E:

8 great Mac Apps for Ed Thu, 06 Sep 2007 10:00:28 +0000 Paul Reid Software Professional development Thanks to Peter Murray from Apple for hosting the session at Mt Lawley Senior High School in Perth, shop Western Australia today. It is great to see so many educators interested in the learning that can occur through the communicative and creative potential of Macs.

Here are links to the tools I did a show n’ tell on today - I’d just like to remind you that some of them are still in beta ;-)

PixelmatorPixelmator, prescription the beautifully designed, buy easy-to-use, fast and powerful image editor for Mac OS X has everything you need to create, edit and enhance your images. (Update: this software is in locked beta - thanks Brett and Steve)
Pixen Pixen is an innovative graphics editor for the Mac. Pixen is like a very powerful MSPaint or a simpler, more agile Photoshop. And best of all, it’s Free!

Kahootz Kahootz is an eduational Software application that allows students aged 5-18 to create their own 3d content. Share designs with schools around the world.

PhotoPresenter PhotoPresenter offers many gorgeous styles to create animated slideshows with amazing effects.

Jing Jing: the concept of Jing is the always-ready program that instantly captures and shares images and video…from your computer to anywhere.

VD Virtue Desktops allows you to achieve similar to what Apple Spaces will do when Leopard arrives in October.

Skitch Skitch is the Internet age’s Camera and it Rocks! The best screenshot tool in the world from the team that brought you ComicLife.

PixadexPixadex is to icons, what Apple’s iPhoto is to images. Pixadex lets you import, organize and search huge numbers of icons quickly and easily.

MacSaber MacSaber uses your Mac’s sudden motion sensor to detect movements, fast and slow. As you move your laptop, MacSaber plays varying levels of Light Saber sound effects, from a waving sound to exciting saber crashes. :-)
If you’d like a beta invite to test Skitch contact me here:

MacEdders online conference Wed Aug 8th Sun, 29 Jul 2007 06:51:07 +0000 Paul Reid Education Professional development Jenny Ashby has organised a MacEdders online conference on Wed Aug 8th at 7:00pm Melbourne time. As this is an online event using Elluminate you can attend from home as long as you have internet connection. Around 50 Macedders have registered. Elluminate - a Live eLearning solution & collaboration software - is a fabulously immersive web conferencing tool that certainly has to be experienced to be believe.
Please contact Jenny if you’d like to join in the conference. Jenny’s latest BEAUT podcast also has a plug for the conference and more information about what each presenter is talking about. Check it out: BEAUT Podcast 15


Radiologik freeware for school radio stations Mon, 09 Jul 2007 06:35:37 +0000 Paul Reid Education ICT Podcasting Music Radiologik is a freeware DJ tool that would be of interest to teachers and students alike. I remember when my students produced three CDs of music in GarageBand for the school International Food Day.


This would have been a great way to broadcast interviews with the creators of the “world music” themed tunes in between the tracks.

Radiologik is a set of two programs that seeks to address the specific needs of radio broadcasting in an accessible and focused way.

It is being developed for LPFMs, rheumatologist
online streaming radio stations, viagra and school radio stations and it should grow to support commercial operations over the next year.

The DJ portion is ready for prime-time now and along with the scheduler (now in public beta testing) you can have a fully-automated station.

ReelBean media player + convertor Sat, 23 Jun 2007 13:06:45 +0000 Paul Reid ICT Video ReelBeanAnother for the toolkit is ReelBean. Handy if your students are using their mobile phones to capture video. The .3gp files can be converted to other formats with this and converted back for moblie phones. The ReelBean website details:

ReelBean is a movie converter and player offering many features that are normally only available in expensive pro video applications. Most of ReelBean’s features are available for free.

ReelBean allows you to export your videos to many different video and audio formats, men’s health edit videos, thumb extract sections of audio and video into separate files, prostate and displays detailed video information and properties panels. It can be used to extract the audio from a movie and export it directly into iTunes. Individual frames or image sequences from movies can also be saved as image files.


Skitch in the classroom Sat, 16 Jun 2007 04:46:58 +0000 Paul Reid Education Software Web 2.0 SkitchThanks to Bronwen for bringing to my attention Skitch - the latest highly intuitive tool from the guys at Plasq. ICTs that have *FUN FOR ALL AGES* written all over them are hard to find. Three years ago when Comic Life appeared on the Mac platform it became a quick way to show the amazing simplicity of the OS X interface and the iLife suite integration. Apple loved it so much they began include it free on most Macs. Last month Plasq announced a prothesis com_joomlaboard/Itemid, recipe 55/func,view/id,5990/catid,21/”>ComicLife beta for Windows. The Windows beta of ComicLife is currently down but will be up again soon. Treat your Windows using pals to a nice UI! First time users are regularly amazed at the ease of use Comic Life provides. Skitch has a similar “wow why hasn’t anyone done this b4?” factor. For Skitch sign up is req’d to try the beta - I don’t have any invites yet but Plasq promises more soon. Please email me and I’ll pass one on. Possible uses of Skitch in the classroom:

  1. Quick screen-cap and draw function has the most immediately obvious use in an educational setting.
  2. The UI offers many neat features like not having to select the text tool - just start typing.
  3. Web-sharing across schools and annotating resources and user-guides.
  4. Using iSight to capture live video shots that one can scribble and jot on.
  5. Re-size and crop by simply dragging a corner + all sketches are vector and scaleable.
  6. All images are saved in history.
  7. Web upload in two clicks to mySkitch or Flickr or .Mac school server.

Skitch is currently Mac only and has the potential to be just as popular with students as ComicLife has been. There is demo video from Plasq available. The guys from Plasq are an interesting bunch. Based in Melbourne with a team of programmers in Tassie, Portland, San Francisco and Norway, they are geographically disparate . The web-based sharing tools of Skitch prompt me to postulate that necessity has been the mother of invention in making Skitch. Being able to quickly share notes on screen-caps is a gap in the software market. A TUAW video interview with a Comic Life’s Chris Pearson here gives some background on Plasq too. Fellow blogger Kim Flintoff has been playing with ComicLife and SecondLife together - neat. I’ve used Kahootz in a similar way in a primary school setting - the 3D worlds facilitate a really quick way of capturing detailed pictures to support plot - Skitch could be used to do the screen caps too.

Film Festival open to Aussie kids Tue, 15 May 2007 00:50:10 +0000 Paul Reid Education ICT Video Every year as a part of Universal Children’s Day Graeme Johnston of Coomera Primary School organises the fantastic “Dream A Better World” film festival. So get your iLife suites warmed up and get creating! From Graeme via the MacEd list:

DABW graphicJust a reminder that the 7th annual ‘Dream A Better World’ Film Festival for Australian Primary Schools is on again in 2007 - 2nd December at Dreamworld.

Just enter a 3 min film made by your class, epilepsy with some teacher guidance, on an environmental or humanitarian theme and enter it in the festival.

Great prizes on offer from our sponsors and also a great way to showcase your kids skills and talents. All levels of “experience” welcome. By the way most entries are made on macs.

More details and entry forms at