With global collaboration and a flat world in mind, this group of Adobe Education Leaders (primary through post secondary education) is sharing their expertise and thoughts on the use of technology in the school classroom and at districts and college/university campuses around the world.
Finally! Enough iPhone stuff! Time to talk about AIR for Android!
I have two applications I’m working on right now, one is a screen sketching application and the other is an educational application that allows art history students to casually study images with metadata through a mobile interface.
My examples are a bit different from those you’ve probably seen around the web lately, as they are not games but creative tools and educational study aids. I didn’t have anything built for iPhone as most prerelease testers had, so this is all pretty much from scratch over the past few days and VERY primitive, yet I believe this speaks to the effectiveness of the platform that I was able to produce two viable tools in my spare time in a matter of days. Nice.
At the University of Denver, we’ve been using the Flex 4 framework for a number of smaller projects (over the course of the development of the new framework) and now that Flex 4 is final, we’ve also begun working it into our CourseMedia™ application. The first tool to benefit from Flex 4 is our CourseMedia™ Arrangement Tool:
The old arrangement tool is actually a leftover from DUVAGA which was updated to work with DUVAGA2/CourseMedia™ when we made the transition to video and such a few years back. For the more technically curious; the old arranger was written in originally written in ActionScript 1.0 (!) and really requires an update for many, many reasons.
The new Arrangement Tool is built on the open source Flex 4 framework and users will immediately notice it to be much faster at processing information, making database calls, and soforth. We are actually rendering bitmap data from video feeds and text slides as well, while preserving the thumbnails created within CourseMedia. This will allow for much simpler item reuse in this tool and hopefully others down the road.
While grabbing the input frame for a video clip may seem to be the best idea, in our testing we noticed that many clips at the beginning of a film began with a series of black frames. This is obviously no good for thumbnail generation. What we decided was to determine the frame precisely between but the start and end frames for any given video clip and render that frame to be used as the video thumbnail as illustrated below. Here is a functional overview video of the Gallery Arrangement Tool used in the University of Denver CourseMedia™ Course Media Management System:
Benjamin Zenner, a student at the University of Denver, has come up with a project to monitor energy consumption at the campus residence halls and display the information to students using a touchscreen interface.
The electric meters at five University of Denver residence halls are equipped with data collectors that transmit electrical consumption to Northwrite Inc. at 15 minute intervals. This data is then passed back to DU systems through a ColdFusion web service which sorts and stores the data within a local MySQL database. When one of the five residence halls is selected, this Flash-based web application makes queries against the database and plots the energy usage in kilowatt hours (kWh) over time for the residence hall.
My department became involved when the time came to put the pieces together. We needed to work with the energy monitoring company (Northwrite) to provide them with a WSDL to submit metering data to. We set this up in ColdFusion and parse out the data to be submitted rto a MySQL database that the Flash-based energy kiosk feeds from.
You can check it out at http://ctl.du.edu/energy/
Hear Ben talk about the project at about 1:14:
The University of DenverCenter for Teaching and Learning is holding a conference this Friday the 29th on “Education and New Media“. We are going to be streaming two keynotes by Michael Wesch live via Flash Media Server and invite you all to attend the discussion through a special app built for the conference that incorporates the live FMS stream, conference Twitter feed, and Google Analytics.
Remote participants can log in and post to the feed via the app – built entirely in Flash:
The idea behind this app is that conference participants (and those from afar who have interest in the keynotes) will be able to participate in a collaborative conversation through the Twitter feed while watching the keynote all through a single interface.
To accomplish this, I’ve employed Sandro Ducceschi’s very cool Tweetr AS3 Library for interfacing with the Twitter API. This is employed for both pulling all tweets marked with “#CTL2010” and allowing users to authenticate into Twitter and post directly from the app. The feed is refreshed every 60 seconds.
On the video side of things, we have employed the university’s Flash Media Servers and are tracking stats via Google Analytics Event Tracking API (which I have previously presented about for FITC). This results in a really nice (and functional!) showcase piece for using new media through the integration of a variety of systems and services.
To tie it all together, we’re using the open source Flex 4 framework and have made heavy use of the new Spark component set. The open source Text Layout Framework is used to render tweets along with my TwitterString class to interpret links, hashtags, and usernames.
I invite everyone to please spread the word about the conference stream. We’d like to have as many people participate in the discussion as possible!
Information about the conference follows:
The University of Denver is hosting an Education and New Media conference on Friday, January 29, 2010. We are very excited to have Michael Wesch as our keynote speaker. You are invited to join us for his keynote sessions via a live video stream. Virtual participants will have the ability to ask questions and share their comments via Twitter.
Michael’s morning keynote begins at approximately 8:30 and is titled, “How can we create students who can create meaningfully connections?” The afternoon keynote will begin around 12:15 pm and is titled, “Making connections: Experiments in Learning with New Media.”
Visit the conference webpage for more information and please feel free to share this invitation with your colleagues. http://portfolio.du.edu/newmedia
Information about how to the access the video stream will be posted here soon.
I have recently been working on creating an ambient art work called ‘Tracier’, which is currently on display in the Kube Gallery in Poole, Dorset. The live, interactive piece is built using Flash and takes a live video feed from a web cam. This feed is heavily processed inside Flash so that just ‘ghostly’ movement is displayed on a projected screen. Using motion tracking, Flash then takes ‘tracings’ of the image along with sampled colours, these are eroded and displayed resulting in kinetic visuals. The piece was created as part of my research and was intended to add visual interest to any public space, not necessarily a gallery.
This year we wanted to do something a bit different for our 10 minute “speech” to the parents attending the annual Open House Night at our school. So using Adobe Visual Communicator, we decided to create a “video tour” of the units we teach in Technology Education at Amherst Middle School.
Sure we could have pre-recorded these segments, and had the benefit of starting over if we flubbed our lines, but hey what fun would that be? We decided to perform LIVE so parents could see Visual Communicator in all it’s simplicity. Simply put, there is NO other comparable software out there that has greenscreen capability, live output, a built in teleprompter, and so many templates and wizards making video production a snap! All made possible with software costing less than $150 edu retail.
Suffice to say, this will now be an annual event for us as it went over extrememly well and was highly effective showing what we teach in our classrooms. We had a lot of positive feedback from administration and parents, and the video was featured on SchoolTube for all to view as well.
Production Note– nearly all of what you see was created exclusively with Visual Communicator, except for the classroom footage which we used our handy Flip Video cameras for, worked great!
Dr. Devin K. Joshi is an Assistant Professor in the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver. This interview was conducted by Alex Karklins of the DU Center for Teaching and Learning regarding his use of CourseMedia™ as a faculty member.
DU CourseMedia™ is a course media management system that helps instructors organize and present media materials (images, video and audio). Instructors have access to large collection of art and world history images, library reserve videos and audio works.
I wrote a new AIR app called LiveStreamer available now via the Adobe AIR Marketplace.
This started as a simple mechanism to display a live RTMP stream from Flash Media Server to a client machine and related projection system. So… not for broadcast over the web- just sending a live stream from one physical location to another.
While developing the application, I came across the need to test an RTMP stream and it was so simple using this app that I decided to expand it. In the current version (0.9.0), it will accept RTMP and HTTP streams- just type in the URL and you can easily test it in order to verify that it is correct before trying to publish anything on a website or whatnot. You can also use it as a fullscreen projection or display mechanism as was originally intended.
If you have some FLVs or MP4s or whatnot on your local machine- you can just drag those into the app to watch them. I’m thinking about adding some playback controls and other options a bit later.
Application for display of video streams via RTMP, HTTP, or local filesystem. Just drag in a file or enter a stream address and away we go!
At the University of Denver, we have built a good number of AIR applications at this point. Some are internal data management tools, others are full, complex, private applications such as the VPS Projection system, and then we have small utility apps like this which others may also find some use for. These we make available to others free of charge as part of our community outreach.
The University of Denver Center for Teaching & Learning has (finally) released the DU CourseMedia™ Course Media Management System. This has been a focus of my work for the past 5 months or so and is one of the major CTL projects for 2009. Some may recall the mention of the DUVAGA system from time-to-time. CourseMedia™ is DUVAGA reborn.
DU CourseMedia™ was developed by the Center for Teaching and Learning at the University of Denver as a course-based media presentation tool for organizing and presenting high quality images and videos to system participants. Although it was initially built with the needs of faculty in the school of art and art history in mind, DU CourseMedia™ is now used by faculty in many other disciplines in approximately 250 courses each term.
Through DU CourseMedia™, instructors have access to over 50,000 art and world history images and over 2000 library reserve videos. DU Course Media™ allows instructors to create online galleries that can include streaming video, images, text slides, discussion boards, quizzes, and voice narrations.
Some of the highlights of the new release are as follows:
Complete overhaul of how media objects are accessed
Entire media galleries can now be shared across permitted websites
Gallery object functionality is raised one level to become more accessible for users
The new Media Viewer is written from scratch with the input of DU faculty, staff and students
The Media Viewer is a Flash application written upon the Flex framework
The VPS Projection System, an application which runs upon the Adobe AIR runtime has also recieved a number of updates
I’ll be presenting on DU CourseMedia™ at the Adobe Education Leader Institute this summer.
To see an overview of the new features, you can check out a screencast produced by Alex Martinez, ColdFusion developer for the CTL.
A screencast specific to the Media Viewer was also authored by Jenn Light. This article was originally posted at In Flagrante Delicto!
This year Amherst Middle School’s musical was written by our own creative team of music teachers. This gave us the ability to record and sell it on DVD as a fundraiser. It was titled, “It’s Middle School…The Musical” and was a big hit!
The “Collector’s Edition” DVD our kids produced was absolutely phenominal! It contains the entire recorded performance shot with 2 camera angles, a slideshow set to the show’s music, and a 30 min documentary containing cast interviews and bloopers.
There were 8 Adobe products involved in this project, to learn more and view sample footage, visit my blog site here: http://blogs.schooltube.com/robz/2009/04/making-the-dvd–behind-the-scenes-of-our-2009-school-musical.html