Friday, May 6, 2011

Creating Timelines in Etoys

The teachers in Uraguay were asking how they can create timelines.  So I created a sample project in Etoys to demonstrate how it can be done.  The timeline uses scripts that execute on "mouseEnter" (to show a speech bubble with more details) and "mouseLeave" (to hide the speech bubble.  A script that executes on "mouseDown" goes to a specific page in the book with more details for that event.  The following video demonstrates how it works:

The timeline in the video and project are very simple and there are many examples of better timelines.  For example from Edward Tufte the Charles Joseph Minard portrays the losses suffered by Napoleon's army in the Russian campaign of 1812. Check anything Tufte puts out its excellent. If you can attend his one day course, do it.

A timeline that tells a story

Here is another example from Google News Timeline :

Finally the Original text from the video:

Decleration of Edupendence

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the educational bands which have connected them with past practices, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect for the thoughts of children requires that they should declare the causes which impel them toward a new form of education.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all children are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Learning.

That to secure these rights, Schools are instituted by Adults, deriving their just powers from their ability to facilitate children reaching their full potential and using their skills for the greater good. That whenever any form of education becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Schools, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Learning and Happiness.


Thursday, May 5, 2011

How I Create Etoys Minute Videos for YouTube

This is done on a Mac using OSX 10.6's QuickTime Player and iMovie '09.

Step 1: Have the project you want to show open and ready. Etoys should be in full screen mode so the project fills the video screen

Step 2:  Open QuickTime Player and select "New Screen Recording"

Step 3: When ready click on the Red Circle (with white circle in center) to begin recording
Step 4: Switch to Etoys and begin "doing your presentation"

Step 5: When done switch back to QuickTime and click on the "Stop Recording" icon in the toolbar at the top of your screen.

Step 6: Open iMovie and select File -> Import -> Movies...

Step 7: Select your Movie, Click "Create new Event" and "Move Files" then "Import"

Step 8: Edit your movie as you like

Step 9: Export Using Quicktime

You should see a screen like this

Step 10: Click on Options and you should get a screen like this:

Step 11: Click on Video: Settings and you should get a screen like this. Make sure your settings match those in the picture below:

Step 12: Click OK, then click on Size and ensure settings like those shown below:

Step 13: Click OK, then click on Sound: Settings and ensure settings like those shown below:

 Step 14: Click OK, Name your File appropriately and then click on Save.  Wait a while until this completes.

Step 15: Go to your YouTube account and upload the Video you just exported and send me a message so I can watch it :)

Number Grids

This Etoy lets you play with number grids.  Kids can click on tiles to color them. For example kids could color every 2nd tile, or use the tiles to create the Sieve of Eratosthenes.  The grids start with zero, but we can modify to start with 1 as well.  The grids are contained inside a holder so that you can resize them to see different patterns.  Kids can use the feature that allows them to "color" the squares to document and report on the patterns they find.  They could also write scripts to color every N tiles or create their own Sieve of Eratosthenes algorithm. I think this project would work well on a SmartBoard or touch screen device.

What do you think? How can this be used to teach, to learn?  Do you have any links or ideas on lesson plans using a tool like this?  Please share your thoughts and links, comment below or blog about it and let me know.