Rapanui Kickstarter Project

My Google alert feed on all things Rapa Nui (my latest musical ‘Compass Rose’  is set there) suggested this great Kickstarter Project: ‘Vai –  The Story of Water On Rapa Nui‘.

Paleoecologist Dr. Candice Gossen plans to create a documentary film covering 15,000 years of Rapa Nui history and, in her own words:

“Tell you a story, a new story about what I found deep down in the mud below the waters of the crater lake Rano Kao“.

With so much speculation and misinformation regarding Rapa Nui and its tragic history, this seems to be a most worthwhile project to get behind.

Personally, I’ve plumped for the tree gift ($25 or more) as Rapa Nui needs all the trees it can get!

Take a look yourself and consider making a pledge.

kickstarterscreenshot

Vai – The Story of Water on rapa Nui: Kickstarter website screenshot.

 

 

pics2phone

As much as I love my iPad (and I’m a dyed-in-the-wool Windows PC person) the lack of ease in transferring photos to applications is frustrating, to say the least.

The issue this time was iDoceo, a brilliant marks book / electronic portfolio / lesson planner which I’ve been using for a while.

I had all my  students’ photos on my PC. I’d used the export function in Picasa to resize them and thought I’d save them on a SD Card then import them via the iPad camera kit.

No. You can’t do that, as the camera kit only works for photos created by the camera.

Okay, upload them in DropBox and …

No. Well, yes, but then I’d have to import them one-by-one from Dropbox into the photo roll. So no.

Sync via iTunes? Not a solution I want to use on a regular basis.

So?

pics2phone

I ended up buying pics2phone.

It’s an iPhone app, and it has one of the ugliest (but simplest) interfaces you’ll find.

To use it:

  1. Create a folder called pics2phone in your Dropbox root folder. (pics2phone may / may not create this for you.)
  2. Copy folders of photos into the pics2phone folder.
  3. Start up pics2phone on your iphone / ipad.
  4. Tap the ‘Download Photos Now’ button.
  5. pics2phone scans the folder in Dropbox. If it finds new photos it uploads them into your Photos app, with each  sub-folder becoming a new album.

That’s it. Photos go into Dropbox, pics2phone imports them into albums.

It’s simple, it’s reliable, it works (and yes, IT is ugly)

pics2phone icon

pics2phone icon

pics2phone_screenshot

 

Timothy Tuck, Cornish teacher

You never quite know when – or where – you’ll turn up on the net.

But even I was a little surprised to find myself (and one of my musicals) in the footnotes to “Cornish Wrecking, 1700-1860: Reality and Popular Myth” (Cathryn Pearce).

Even more surprising is to discover I’m actually a Cornish teacher…

I have to admit to some links with Cornwall. Just up the road from us in South Australia is the historic Moonta township (‘one of the three towns in the ‘Copper Triangle’)  settled by Cornish miners. I did also visit Cornwall a few years ago but make no claims to any Cornish blood, as I was born in Welwyn Garden City.

Still, it is nice to have ‘Wreckers’ (one of my favourite productions) footnoted so.

 

 

360Cities Rapa Nui Panoramas

I love the colourful and personal world-view that Google Maps and  Street View have brought to my classroom.

I’ve now added 360Cities to my teaching toolkit as they take Street View and turn it into an immersive (you guessed it!) 360 degree panorama.

I’m writing a children’s musical set on Rapa Nui (Easter Island) and was alerted to a 360cities panorama of the Ran Raraku quarry, where the famous heads were carved:

 


Inside Rano Raraku : The Moai Quarry in Rapa Nui – Easter Island

This one shows the Ahu Akivi moai, the only ones to actually face the ocean.

Ahu Akivi (Front Left) in Rapa Nui – Easter Island

This one shows the Ahu Tongariki, the largest moai on the island.

 


Another Day At Tongariki (Front Center) in Rapa Nui – Easter Island

The 360Cities site requires Flash, so there’s no visiting on your iPad! Fortunately, there is an app, and since it allows you to make your own panoramas, it’s excellent value.

Panoramas are user uploaded, so popular tourist sites are over-represented and some places have none at all. That aside, my quick sampling (birth place in UK, recent trip to New Zealand, Canada and interest in Easter Island) all turned up useful views.

And of course, your students could make their own too!

Google Alerts

Google Alerts are “email updates of the latest relevant Google results (web, news, etc.) based on your queries”.

This is a very handy service if you have specific topics you like being kept up to date with.

Here’s the Google Alert form at www.google.com.au/alerts

Google Alert form

Google Alert form

Setting it up

There’s a few options:

  • Search query: Complete with your topic of choice. Be specific here, otherwise you may be overwhelmed!
  • Result type: Are you after News? Blogs? Videos? Discussions? Books? You can also choose Everything to be sure!
  • How often: Choose from “As it happens’, ‘Once a day’ or ‘Once a week’
  • How many: Two choices here – ‘Only the best results  or ‘All results’
  • Deliver to: Your email address.

In practice

I’m currently writing a musical based on Rapa Nui (or Easter Island).

Here’s the alert I set up and a sample of the responses I received.

Google Alert form example

 

Google Alert form example

I’ve found the system excellent. Just two days in, I received an alert about the final stages of an expedition that paddled a traditional outrigger around the Polynesian ‘triangle’ of New Zealand / Hawaii / Easter Island. Then I received an alert on an update to 360Cities with panoramic walk rounds of the Rano Raraku quarry where the stone heads were carved. Two very useful stories within one week!

 

 

 

Backwards

YouTube is a huge resource for teachers and especially so for those in the areas of Music, Multi Media and Drama.

I came across the video ‘Forward’ after following a Reddit link. The clip features music by Fred V and Grafix with video by Messe  Kopp.

The concept is simple; have your principal actor walk through a scene backwards. When finished, reverse the footage and add your music.

Student responses

I showed this to a range of year levels. I explained to them there was only one ‘special effect’, and asked if they could work out what it was. Some of the responses were quite entertaining! The clip certainly caught their attention, as all classes wanted to watch it again! It was also intriguing to hear their thoughts on where it was filmed. After some hints (look at the signs, headwear) students worked out the Middle East, then Jerusalem.

Project

We then bounced around ideas for filming our own version. With the weather still warm students were keen to try out the water effect and one group immediately saw the potential for the playground swings.

We started with a whole-class version. Two students were chosen as the ‘walkers’ and the rest of the class positioned themselves strategically along a path from the front of the school to our Performing Arts Centre. We attached the Flip Video to a tripod and balanced it on a furniture trolley for stability. The trolley was then pushed keeping pace with the students walking backwards.

Safety is obviously a concern when people can’t see where they’re going. We had a spotter (outside of the view of the camera) and I made sure nobody was falling off the trolley.

Once filmed, we downloaded the video onto our Windows 7 PCs and used the excellent VideoPad video editor to reverse the video. (If you use VideoPad, right click the clip in the timeline > ‘Change Clip Speed’ > Tick box ‘Play Clip In Reverse’)

The results were impressive, with some very ordinary actions producing totally unexpected results. Throwing jumpers or hats to the ground was especially impressive, as were any leaps or jumps.

Students then formed small groups and recorded  footage of their own which we edited and presented to a whole school assembly.

After-words

I discovered Coldplay’s ‘The Scientist’ after we completed the project. I shared the clip with one class, and although several students had seen it before, had never connected the story to the backwards filming. This clip led to a discussion of what life would be like if it ran backwards, Arthur Eddington’s ‘arrow of time’ theory and the Red Dwarf episode (and later novel)  ‘Backwards