Archive for April, 2011

April 28, 2011

STEM Grant Complete

We just concluded out Prime the Pipeline grant and it was great. Educators and students demonstrated the photography and video they did and proudly showed their Rich Media PDFs containing their stills, video and audio. They had a great time going “deep” into Photoshop, InDesign and Acrobat Pro ! I will be posting the final video compilation of their images at  – check it in a few days.

And now… time for Finals….



1:52 AM Permalink
April 24, 2011

CodeBass Radio: Runtime Expectations Interview with Joseph Labrecque

Adrian Pomilio interviews Joseph Labrecque at 360|Flex in Denver, CO – April 2011.

I was interviewed for the Runtime Expectations internet radio show while at 360|Flex in Denver. It was great chatting with Adrian and we touched upon many subjects over the course of the interview. Quite a bit of the discussion focuses on education and the challenges that come with teaching technical subjects and the complications that come with teaching online classes. Jump to around 19:50 in the recording to listen to that portion, specifically.

Also discussed during the interview: music composition, book and tutorial authoring, the AEL and ACP programs with Adobe, mobile development, and the sad state of tech journalism.

I encourage anyone interested to  check out the other interviews from 360|Flex including John Wilker, the Nielsen Company, and Mollie Rusher of On3!

What is Runtime Expectations?
Join Ben Farrell, Adrian Pomilio, and Bucky Schwarz as they broadcast live from Cuban Revolution in downtown Durham, NC with a beer in one hand and a mic in the other.  They’ll be covering all the aspects of software development that compel them to put a beer in that first hand. Shows feature both live guests and call-ins.

Follow Joseph on Twitter:

Follow Adrian on Twitter:

5:58 PM Permalink
April 10, 2011

The Cell Phone Experiment – Part 1

My goal – to finally bring cell phones and their amazing technology into the classroom as working tools, instead of as working distractions. This idea initially came to me a few years ago but the world was clearly not ready. “Get those things out of our classrooms!” cried many, many teachers and administrators. And who can blame them. Students were clearly distracted by them and demonstrated very little restraint (if indeed, any restraint at all) in using them even though they were strongly instructed to turn them off and put them away. Now – years later, there is no improvement in student behaviour, but something else has changed. We, the great collective “we”, being teachers, administrators and superintendants, seem to be finally realizing two important developments. First, phones are not going away. Period. Secondly, these phones and all of the devices yet to come, are only going to become more capable and even more commonplace. In our own high school we have recently had to revise the school’s Code of Conduct to reflect these changing times and realities.

When I told one of our vice-prinicipals that I wanted to utilize cell phones and their built in cameras as sources of images for videos the students were doing in class, she was positively interested. THAT was not an answer I would have received a few years ago. Her only concern was that many of my students would therefore be out in the halls filming and shooting. I came up with a solution to that – press passes. The students and I would create a version of a hall pass but it would be labelled, Press Pass and would state that the student wearing this pass was one of mine and had certain responsibilities and it included my class phone number so another teacher could immediately call me and complain or comment. As it happens, it was not the use of the cell phones that killed that part of my process. We have had a run of incidents with too many students out and about in our hallways so when I approached our prinicipal about this experiment she was accepting of my use of the cell phones but not of the students in the halls. All of their shooting would have to be done outside of school, which actually worked out well for the project. What was very interesting was that she then told me about the upcoming changes to the Code of Conduct based in part on requests like mine to make positive use of these machines in school. Clearly not all teachers are in favour of this shift but when my department met to discuss the proposed changes to the Code of Conduct, they supported my experiment and wrote in the required changes for me. The change I am after allows a teacher to use a cell phone camera in class. Previously we were told that was illegal… and now I am just waiting for final confirmation that the changes are accepted and passed. Change apparently takes a long, long time. Still.

But here is the kicker – I am having a huge problem getting the students to use their phone cameras for the project. I never expected this to be a challenge. I tried and tried to understand the reasons for this attitude, with no success. Then one day a student needed help with a particularly difficult picture so I brought in my Pentax K10 semi-pro DSLR. His comment when he saw the pics I took was, “Those are legit.” And that, it seems, is part of the problem. Cell phone cameras are not legit. Big DSLR cameras are legit. The movie cameras I have in my classroom with their microphones on top and cables and such are legit. They look, “pro”. Cell phones are not “pro”. They are commonplace and they are entertainment. The fact that many cell phones are much better than little point-and-shoot cameras is lost on these students.

At this point in the proceedings I am still confident that as we become increasingly engaged in this project, the students will buy into the use of their phone cameras and they will start to realize that “legit” comes in many, many forms. Funny – I thought it would our administration that might stall the project. As I said – I remain optimistic. We’ll get there.

Where to from here? One student is finally using his cell phone to shoot images for his storyboard – he is doing a digital storyboard. When I told him he was welcome to put together a digital version he was delighted! I guess it never occured to him that that would be possible. Funny how these digital kids can be so cautious about some things while launching into new apps and technology a the same time.

9:23 PM Permalink
April 7, 2011

Changing Education Paradigms – Sir Ken Robinson

I thought I would share this animated youtube video of Sir Ken Robinson talking about reforming public education.  Sir Ken has some interesting views on our current education systems and the problems we all face. Through the use of animation and his wry sense of humour he asks some very challenging questions about how we deliver education and what the future may hold. Please click on the link below.

Changing Education Paradigms

“Sir Ken Robinson, PhD is an internationally recognized leader in the development of creativity, innovation and human resources. He has worked with governments in Europe, Asia and the USA, with international agencies, Fortune 500 companies, and some of the world’s leading cultural organizations. In 1998, he led a national commission on creativity, education and the economy for the UK Government. ‘All Our Futures: Creativity, Culture and Education’ (The Robinson Report) was published to wide acclaim in 1999.

For twelve years, he was Professor of Education at the University of Warwick in the UK and is now Professor Emeritus. He has received honorary degrees from the Open University and the Central School of Speech and Drama; Birmingham City University, Rhode Island School of Design, Ringling College of Art and Design and the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts. He has been honored with the Athena Award of the Rhode Island School of Design for services to the arts and education; the Peabody Medal for contributions to the arts and culture in the United States, and the Benjamin Franklin Medal of the Royal Society of Arts for outstanding contributions to cultural relations between the United Kingdom and the United States. In 2005 he was named as one of Time/Fortune/CNN’s Principal Voices. In 2003, he received a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II for his services to the arts. He speaks to audiences throughout the world on the creative challenges facing business and education in the new global economies.”

Phil Beards April 2011

8:08 PM Permalink
April 1, 2011

Flash Development for Android Cookbook: RAW

Flash Development for Android Cookbook

Flash Development for Android Cookbook

My first book is now available for preorder over at the Packt Publishing website. Not only can you preorder “Flash Development for Android Cookbook“, but it is also being included in the RAW program. This means that even though the book is not yet finished (the draft is finished- working through rewrites, currently) you can preorder the eBook or the print book and access the draft chapters online before the book is truly published!

For those wondering about the content, whether it leans more toward Flex or pure ActionScript; while there is a bit of Flex sprinkled throughout a few of the chapters, the code examples are almost always written in nothing but pure AS3 to allow anyone using any framework and toolset to implement the recipes easily. Full AS3 class downloads will be available through the Packt website.

So please spread the word, and place a preorder if so inclined! Note that even though the publish date is marked as September on the website, this was an original projection from last year and the true print date is more likely May or June.

Description from Publisher:

Flash has now arrived to Android — the fastest growing smartphone platform. This offers massive opportunities for Flash developers who want to get into mobile development. At the same time, working on smartphones will introduce new challenges and issues that Flash developers may not be familiar with.

The Flash Development for Android Cookbook enables Flash developers to branch out into Android mobile applications through a set of essential, easily demonstrable recipes. It takes you through the entire development workflow: from setting up a local development environment, to developing and testing your application, to compiling for distribution to the ever-growing Android Market.

The Flash Development for Android Cookbook starts off with recipes that cover development environment configuration as well as mobile project creation and conversion. It then moves on to exciting topics such as the use of touch and gestures, responding to device movement in 3D space, working with multimedia, and handling application layout. Essential tasks such as tapping into native processes and manipulating the file system are also covered. We then move on to some cool advanced stuff such as Android-specific device permissions, application debugging and optimization techniques, and the packaging and distribution options available on the mobile Android platform.

In a nutshell, this cookbook enables you to get quickly up to speed with mobile Android development using the Flash Platform in ways that are meaningful and immediately applicable to the rapidly growing area of mobile application development.

Take your Flash applications beyond the desktop and into the emerging world of mobile application development!


3:03 PM Permalink