Archive for August, 2008

August 28, 2008

Learn How to Make a 32 Second Video

Johnny Encore teaches you how to make a video “thus living the life of a rock-and-roll legend” in this highly entertaing video tutorial series…brought to you by Adobe TV.

1:20 PM Permalink
August 23, 2008

Sydney Safe Seeker – Internet Safety Game

sydney1.JPGSo far I’ve given you two interactive Flash activities to help you begin “the talk” about sexual predators with your children and I promised to give you a preview of a game we are creating to measure a child’s vulnerability to the ten ploys used by sexual predators.
The game was created by our partner charity, the Child Safety Research and Innovation Center and is called Sydney Safe-Seeker and the Incredible Journey Home. It’s actually suite of products focused on “Street Proofing” the child. The core of the package is the game which was created using Adobe Director, but it includes record keeps, lessons, activity sheets, and other material.
Designed for ages 5-10, it’s a role-playing adventure style game with numerous interactions that lead up to a potentially unsafe situation. Sydney and his friends are sucked through a worm hole and have to find four warp stoned in order to come home. During their journey th4e children are asked to make decisions based on game scenes that were developed to mirror real and sometimes dangerous situations.
As they play the game audio and video feedback help teach them about the wisdom of their decisions. As the same time their actions are being tracked and can later be reported to teachers or parents. Their actions determine which ploys and to what extent children are vulnerable to predators.
The value of this initiative is twofold: first, it teaches young children to incorporate street proofing into their daily lives, giving them an essential skill, which will protect them and the children they play with and second, it provides all of the community stakeholders around the child with the best safety practices to convey to children as well as materials and supplementary resources to help these caregivers and safety professionals convey these messages.
Here are just a few snips from the game.

8:59 AM Permalink
August 19, 2008

Electronic portfolios, digital assessment, and lesson planning with Adobe Acrobat

Today I received the August 2008, Volume 9 edition of the Adobe Education Campus e-newsletter (delivered via email). The newsletter contained links to some great instructional resources, including a link to a handful of resources for creating rich PDF student portfolios.
Topics include:

  • Creating electronic portfolios with Adobe Acrobat
  • Digital assessment with Adobe Acrobat
  • Generating lesson plans with Adobe Acrobat

Each topic includes nicely written directions with plenty of screen shots.
Resource Link

11:11 AM Permalink
August 12, 2008

Ten Ploys Used by Online Sexual Predators

onlinepredators.JPGIn my last blog I showed you the ten ploys face to face predators use to lure children. Today I’m going to provide you with a Flash animation that shows how these same ten ploys work online.
Remember the online sexual predator picture as portrayed by the press is over stated. Predators don’t usually hide their age or the purpose of meetings. Children go knowingly and willingly.
It is really only a small segment of the teen population that is at risk. They are the teens who would be at risk off line. Often they are sexually active and have a lot of issues in their lives.
However, a small percentage of that small percentage are youth who are groomed a lured into meetings without knowing they are in for trouble. Whether it is off line or online, this can be prevented by having frank talks with your children about predators and how they work.
Here’s the Flash animation of The Ten Ploys Sexual Predators Use Online. If you would like to download and send this blog and animation to someone as an Acrobat 9 PDF Right-click here and save the file or link to your computer.
In my next blog, I’ll give you a preview of Sydney Safe Seaker, the video game that measures a child’s susceptibility to the ten ploys used by sexual predators.

7:10 AM Permalink

Web Galleries

As well as playing with Flash to get my seminar presentation on line in a fashion that sort of reproduced the look and feel of the Keynote in which it was created, I have spent the last couple of weeks getting my end of year exhibition up on our departmental website – a job that I do every summer.
So I thought that I might share the process for any who may be interested.
The site is and the link is to ‘current exhibition’ (the site is a bit wobbly at the moment, so if it is down try later…)
If you click on ‘digital’ at the bottom of the page, and ‘Key Stage 3’ at the bottom of the menu, you will get examples of the different galleries that I have created.
For much of the work I simply edited the photos in a combination of Aperture and Photoshop – I guess that I should be using Lightroom, but Aperture came out first…
Most of the galleries were then created directly from Aperture – very simple and very quick to do, but not much in the way of templates. I am sure that I could as easily have used Lightroom, and Photoshop has lots of templates for web galleries – lots of choice for simple web galleries these days. The Yr 7 Land Art is an example of this sort of gallery.
For galleries with lots of images, I used a Dreamweaver plug in called Image Gallery Pack from a company called Project 7. They do lots of cool plugins for Dreamweaver. The menu on the digital page is also from them – Popup menu magic. I really like their concertina plugin too. The Holborne Museum photos are an example of this type of gallery.
The book effect in the Time Capsule project has been created with a bit of software called Banner Zest Pro from Aquafadas – with the images created pretty directly from Acrobat files. The project itself was originally created with Comic Life from Plasq. A slightly cheaper alternative is a Flash plugin called FlippingBook, but this is a little more comlex to use.
Another example of Banner Zest Pro is the kiost effect in the GCSE panel – either Meg or Sasha’s photos, or Holly’s (my daughter…)
And finally the animations and films that have been put together using the template that I created for the seminar presentation, which is done in Flash, with an extra component called TweenMax. I can offer instructions and a template if folk would like – contact me.
In terms of showing good practice in relation to digital photography, the work of Alex Hughes-Games is spectacular. I have included flipbook versions of his workbook/journals – but in order to keep them to a reasonably sensible size I have had to compromise on quality, so they may be hard to read. Useful on a mac is the alt apple = shortcut that magnifies text (if it is on in preferences). There is also three of the movies that he created with a binary application called mathmap.
The Paris photos of Nathan Al’Shebab are worth a look too. He has created a beautiful website to display them using msql and php.
Because these journals will be really useful to me (and I hope others) in demonstrating good practice to future students, I have also included one as an Acrobat 9 portfolio (thank you Adobe – thank you Steve) The downsite is that it weighs in at 25.6mb.
It strikes me that acrobat – the portfolio, and form creation are a simply perfect digital solution for the International Baccalaureate record book.
– Ross

4:12 AM Permalink
August 6, 2008

Adobe Education eSeminar Series

The Adobe Education eSeminar Series begins August 14, 2008.
These free of charge online events will cover topics such as distance and eLearning projects using Acrobat 9, creating interactive PDF files, electronic portfolios for students and educators and much more.
The presentations will be conducted by Adobe education product experts and/or Adobe Education Leaders.
This is a great opportunity to learn from the experts right from your computer.
Details and registration

11:18 PM Permalink
August 5, 2008

Ten Ploys of Offline Sexual Predators

As they say, the best laid plans of mice and men…
This entry is actually the first of two entries, but I created it a week ago and forgot to publish it. The second entry was published a few hours ago. So I guess today will be a double header.
sydney.JPG Sexual predators use specific ploys to ensnare their victims. Later this year, the Child Safety Research and Innovation Center (CSRIC), a Canadian online safety charity, will be releasing an adventure game aimed at elementary school children.
Sydney Safe-Seeker and the Incredible Journey Home multimedia game provides an interactive exploratory environment where the children ages 5 – 10 are asked to make decisions based on game scenes that were developed to mirror real and sometimes dangerous situations. The game actually measures and reports back to teachers and parents the vulnerability of the child to ten different ploys used by sexual predators.
In addition to measuring and reporting, the game develops safe habits through the use of prompts and feedback during the course of the game. The more the child plays, the more they learn about safety.
Here’s an
interactive animation
that was created using characters from the game. It will provide you with information about the ten ploys used by face to face predators.
Thanks to Adobe Acrobat 9, multimedia can now be embedded in the PDF. If you would like this blog and animation in PDF format that you can send to others, just right-click here and select Save File As… or Save Link As…

11:22 AM Permalink
August 1, 2008

A Pre-Production Gem

I have always had a tuff time with teaching the pre-production phase of a media project, and let’s face it; there is a “whole lot more” that goes into creating a quality film project than shooting and editing video. Usually that “whole lot more” is found on the planning side of the project: writing the screenplay, creating the storyboard, arranging and organizing characters, and scheduling the shoot. Not the most glamorous parts of the project, but very important elements of the story telling process.
The problem I face is that students are chomping at the bit to get their hands on technology. They want to get their hands wrapped around a camera and start filming. They want to jump into Adobe Premiere and start editing. They want to use technology from project start-to-finish! I had to find a technology based pre-production tool that not only engaged students but also followed industry formatting and submission standards…and it had to be cheap (I’d rather spend money on the fun stuff).
I recently stumbled on a free pre-production utility which will certainly find its way to the top of my “bag of tricks.” Celtx is packed with goodies that will infuse new life into student pre-production planning. It offers tools for film, audio-visual, theatre, audio play (podcast?), storyboarding, and comic books. It also includes online collaboration tools, a great blog, and a handful of quick start tutorial videos. Perhaps I can even persuade the creative writing and literacy teachers to give it a spin.
Ok, I admit, I’m not ready to completely abandon the good ‘ol pencil and paper, but Celtx is pretty darn slick!

8:05 AM Permalink