Learning DMX

We’ve just purchased a DMX enabled follow-spot for our school drama area. It’s just shame my brain isn’t DMX enabled to operate it!

There’s quite a few tutorials around but this one from UniqueSquared (the first in a series of five) is short, pithy and has turkeys!

The second video covers DMX addressing:

The third one hits DMX switches (and binary) – great Maths lesson here:

Part 4 gets into wiring multiple units:

The last part compares software and hardware solutions to controllers:

From LearnLizard comes this longer video – 9 minutes – on programming lights:

 

Earth Sandwich

For the uninitiated, an ‘Earth Sandwich’ is created when

“two slices of bread are simultaneously placed on opposite sides of the Earth”

with of course the obligatory ‘pics or it didn’t happen’ from the two people on different sides of the world. Like these below from the Irish Examiner news site.

There’s lots of info on creating an earth sandwich at www.zefrank.com/sandwich  and this tool ubasics.com/dighole will help you in working where your earth sandwich counterpart will be.

Unfortunately for Australians, the ‘top’ of our earth sandwich ‘bottom’ is going to be mid-Atlantic Ocean, although Perth ALMOST matches Bermuda (missed it by ‘that’ much!) and some parts of New Zealand just squeeze in, with their ‘tops’ in Spain.

Even if Aussies can only be part of an open sandwich, the concept is a fun one to explore with students.

  • Which countries are on opposite sides of the Earth?
  • Who could dig a hole through to China?
  • Who are on opposite sides of the equator?
  • What are antipodes?

 

The Three Billy Goats Gruff: Shadow Puppets

The Three Billy Goats Gruff story lends itself marvelously for drama explorations. With only two characters ‘on-stage’ at any one time it’s also ideal for small-group puppetry. This download is a set of character silhouettes that are ideal for use as shadow puppets. Just cut the shapes out, glue on sticks and away you go. Students could also make additional scenery (eg. the entire valley) to expand the basic lesson setup.

Resource Sheet:

Download The Three Billy Goats Gruff: Shadow Puppets

The Three Billy Goats Gruff:  Preview

The Three Billy Goats Gruff: Preview

Additional resources:

You can find more lesson plans here:

You can find scripts here:

Videos are here:

 

 

Silent Movies, Musicless Videos & Bad Lip Reading

My current middle school performing arts unit is on Film Sound and traditionally students demonstrate their knowledge of Foley sound by recording a short video and adding sound effects to it.

This year we’ve utilised the rich diversity that is youtube and made use of the many silent movies, musicless videos and bad-lip reading videos available.

PS. Please watch the sample videos below before using with your students.

Silent Movies

There’s any number of silent-movie era films on youtube. The Charlie Chaplain films are particularly useful with clear, well-defined action and readily followed plots.

My students practised their Foley skills by creating sound effects live as the video played on a laptop. The video and sounds were recorded for playback on an iPod. A little crude but quick and surprisingly effective.

Musicless Music Videos

It’s easier to explain this new mashed up genre by watching one. But for a short explanation:

  1. Select a music video.
  2. Remove the music soundtrack.
  3. Add sound effects as appropriate.

 

 

Bad Lip-Reading

Similar to the Musicless Music Videos, but with dialogue rather than sound effects:

  1. Select a short scene from a film, sports training video or TV show.
  2. Remove the soundtrack.
  3. Re-dub the dialog with words and phrases that match the lip movements of the actors, but which are funnier.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HacXlrw01zE

All three activities have proved popular with the students and all provide an excellent  framework i which to practice or demonstrate skills.

Australian Curriculum Links

Media Arts Year 7-8

  • Develop and refine media production skills to shape the technical and symbolic elements of images, sounds and text for a specific purpose and meaning
  • Plan, structure and design media artworks that engage audiences

Media Arts Years 9-10

  •  Experiment with ideas and stories that manipulate media conventions and genres to construct new and alternative points of view through images, sounds and text
  • Develop and refine media production skills to integrate and shape the technical and symbolic elements in images, sounds and text for a specific purpose, meaning and style

 

Lego Moviemaker App Manual

Lego Movie ApI’ve been using the Lego Movie Maker app with our students for a while now.

The app is free (yipee!) and although it’s a bit clunky in places it’s proven a real hit with children from ages 6-14.

If you do any stop motion animation on the iPad or iPhone give it a go. And feel free to download the manual I put together for our school.

Lego Moviemaker Manual download

 

Daisy the Dinosaur: Programming for (Lower) Primaries

Daisy Dinosaur IconWhat it is: an iPad app for introducing programming concepts.
Who it’s for: F-2 students (or older students with no programming background)
Australian Curriculum link:  “Follow, describe and represent a sequence of steps and decisions (algorithms) needed to solve simple problems.” (ACTDIP004)


 

This little (and free) introduction-to-programming app has lots going for it.
  • It’s aimed at absolute beginners.
  • You can play in free-play mode or challenge mode.
  • If students can read the words ‘move’, ‘turn’ or ‘grow’ they can program.

Getting started

  1. Download from the app store onto your iPad.
  2. Jump into Challenge Mode.
  3. Complete the first challenge; use the ‘move’ command to make Daisy move across the screen to hit the star.
  4. Well done! You’ve made your first program!

July 08, 2014 at 0621PM

Next steps

There are only a few challenges but they do introduce sequencing and the use of a ‘repeat’ command. July 08, 2014 at 0621PM(1) Back in free-play mode you have just seven (blue) commands to play with; limiting but not overwhelming.

  • Move: select forward or backward.
  • Turn
  • Grow
  • Shrink
  • Jump
  • Roll
  •  Spin

There are are also two pink commands:

  • Repeat 5
  • When

You can drag blue commands onto the pink ‘repeat 5’ command and it … repeats that command 5 times. Drag blue commands onto the pink ‘when’ command and they will only be executed when Daisy is tapped or the iPad is shaken. daisy3

And…

That’s about it. You can’t save, add sprites, backgrounds or anything else. But it is easy to get into for JP students and a little imagination will soon have Daisy gyrating across the grassy stage. Brilliant! Link Daisy the Dinosaur on the App Store Link Daisy the Dinosaur programming tutorial   iPad Apps: Daisy the Dino from LondonCLC on Vimeo.

Year 2 Technology: The Three Pigs

The Three Pigs is a wonderfully rich starting point for a technology and design unit. Students can investigate house plans, material strength, hinges and how they work, cooking utensils, wolf-trap making and lots more!

Here’s the unit sheet for the Year 2 topic I taught, complete with simple rubric and parental explanation.

orange-download Technology Plan: The Three Pigs (Word docx)

Three Pig technology plan.

Tripline

My first attempts at creating an animated visual of a journey (some 15 years ago) were laborious and frustrating and involved taking multiple screenshots of a small plane graphic as I moved it across a blurry background map.

Now you can purchase dedicated map-journey software such as PriMap or use freebie (yay!) online tools such as Map My Trip or Tripomatic.

My favourite though was the easy-as to use Tripline.

The web interface is easy to navigate, and creating an animated map is straightforward:

  1. Create an account. (Facebook login is an option)
  2. Create a new map.
  3. Add waypoints and locations. (Click on the map, search by name or add by decimal point latitude / longitude)
  4. Add descriptions and photographs. (The photo upload is VERY well implemented)
  5. Share your map. (I’ve added Tripline to our school website and Facebook page).

The completed project is slick, thoughtfully designed and presented and a easy for the casual user to use.

Classroom use

I’d highly recommend this online resource for classroom use. With the only downside being the registration requirements, Triplien could easily find a place in Geography and History lessons mapping out migration patterns, historic journeys or imaginary trips. The diary interface also suggests use in literacy lessons, whilst the ability to export distances suggests use in numeracy work.

Resources

You probably won’t need much hand-holding, but there are some excellent resources available:

You can also download a Tripline app for the iPad but the functionality – particularly the animated map – appears to be missing at this time.

Sample trip