Internet Insights 01 – Setting Up and Getting Started


Internet Insights - Setting Up and Getting StartedIn our first session we covered off the essentials for getting yourself online.

  • Maximising your speed – From what to look from in a service provider to ensuring your home wiring is going to deliver you the best possible speed. Getting the most from your home network means choosing the right option for connectivity. Wired or Wireless, selecting the best channel, and securing your network from unwanted access.
  • Patching your devices – Enabling layers of defence, from the latest updates for your system and software to anti-virus and firewalls.
  • Backing up your digital memories – What should you keep, creating a backup strategy, keeping it regular and pain-free.
  • Browsers, Credentials – Keeping yourself safe online. Keeping your identities as secure as you want them to be.

Handout notes are available here

Your Family & The Internet – Notes


Word Cloud - Generated from the notes released at the 30 October 2012 seminarDuring the October seminar, we took you through a lot of material… the notes provided covered off the major points of the session.

We listened to the feedback and will be reworking the seminar to break it into smaller, more digestible chunks so a big thanks to those who helped us out by evaluating the session and providing your valuable feedback.

As promised, we are making available the Internet and Mobile usage policies, we’d love to hear how implementing what you’ve learned has worked out.

Continue reading Your Family & The Internet – Notes

Access Denied

Unfortunately, today marked the last ‘Tech Wizards’ session. Not through lack of interest from the students or the school, but due to a change in reporting line in my day job.

Yeeaaaah.... no.It’s been a tonne of fun, we’ve had 12 sessions in all, we created some ‘interesting’ animations, the kids are more confident in using their technology at the school, and we busted a few overly constrictive rules (for the betterment of the student rule set).

It’s a shame that the lunchtime sessions have had to come to a close. I think we were doing some great work and, while taking the sessions ate my Wednesday afternoons and took me away from the day job, on balance that time was more than recouped elsewhere in the week.

Continue reading Access Denied

Session 03 – Digital Story Telling

Today, our session was on working with digital assets. From camera phones to point-and-click to DSLR to full blown Digital Video recorders, our ability to capture images and movement has never been as close to hand as it is now. Because of this, we should be  mindful of how we create our work and how we can make it even more interesting and engaging.

Digital Storytelling


Video – Interviewing

When telling, or recording a story via video, we want to capture as much as we can up front, because we can always edit out mistakes, giggles, awkward silences and pretty much anything else at the post production phase.

Pre Production – Getting Everything together

When interviewing someone, it is generally a good idea to give them the questions they will be asked first. This gives them a chance to think of a good answer, avoids long pauses and starting again lots of times.

Choose a location with good light which is quiet enough to hear your subject. If you have an external microphone you can choose a noisier environment as the mic will pick up the subject a lot better than a built in microphone.

Production – Taking the shot

When it’s time to film your subject, try and position them against a background which is interesting, without being too distracting. Sit just to the side of the camera, and have the subject address you rather than look down the lens

Keep the camera rolling, we can always edit out the bloopers later on and make sure you pause between questions and answers to give a good amount of ‘video space’ which will be helpful when trimming up the interview in the post production stage.

Post Production – Putting it all together

In this step we will be using one of any number of software packages to cut out the mistakes and boring bits and produce an exciting video with interesting answers.

We can insert titles, transitions between questions and edit the soundtrack… but all that is a session in itself!


Stop Motion Animation

Stop motion can be really really fun as you are limited only by your imagination (and your patience). It takes a long time to setup and record enough frames for only a few seconds of video. As with many things in life, the slower you take things the better the outcome.

Spend a good amount of time coming up with a decent concept, think about what elements you want in the story, and take your time creating the footage. Remember, small movements lead to smoother video. Patience is the key, so think of a very short scene you’d like to create to begin with.

Pre Production – Getting Everything together

In groups:

  • Think of a story to tell (make it short)
    • Script / Sequence
    • Decide Roles
    • Creation of the Set
    • Characters
    • Voices?
    • Music
  • Storyboarding – Draw a few scenes to show the movements you want to do
    • Include as much detail as you can
    • Try the story out on others
    • Incorporate feedback
    • Create final storyboard
    • Revise script

Production – Recording the raw story

Set up the:

  • Scene
    • Where are your characters going to move
    • Secure the scene so it doesn’t shift during the changes to the elements in the scene
  • Camera
    • Secure the Camera so it doesn’t shift
    • Can you see the whole scene
  • Lighting
    • Make sure there is good lighting and minimise unwanted shadows in the scene
    • When shooting, make sure the lighting is as constant as possible

Start snapping:

Position all elements for the first shot then:

  1. Take the photo
  2. Move any elements which need to move, making very small adjustments as this will help the final video appear far smoother
    • Review the image – is it clear, is the lighting right?
    • Re-shoot if necessary
  3. Return to step 2

Post Production – Putting it all together

In this step we will be using one of any number of software packages to stitch our images together and produce a video. We can insert titles, transitions between scenes and of course – we’ll need to list the creative genius behind the production in the credits… but all that is a session in itself!

Software you can use: Anasazi Stop Motion Animator, PhotoLapse, MonkeyJam

Stop Motion Animation Example

Your Face in Space

Finally, if you want your face and name to be launched into orbit on July 08 2011 during the final Space Shuttle STS-134 mission aboard the Shuttle Endeavour , then you’ll want to click here and join the face in space crew.

Endeavour’s STS-134 missionEndeavour’s STS-134 mission

Session 02 – Inside the Computer

Today we had a talk about the parts of a computer and what we did – then got down to business and pulled apart a couple of machines, identifying the pieces as we went.

The Wizards playing PC Bash [after pulling apart a couple of real ones :) ]
The Wizards playing PC Bash [after pulling apart a couple of real ones 🙂 ]
The list of computer parts we created were:

  • Keyboard
  • Hard Drive
  • Memory Card
  • Mouse
  • USB
  • Disc Tray
  • Plugs
  • Power
  • Speakers / Headphones
  • Screen
  • Micro Chip
  • Colorful Wires
  • Microphone / Camera

What was interesting was the recollections went from most visible (and used) to the ‘nuts and bolts’ and then all the way back up to the user layer with the Microphone & Camera. As a hand-on session, we were able to cover things like static electricity, different storage types, ports and even reminisced about the dial-up modem.

We finished up with a bit of a fun flash game called “Bash the Computer” which was a definite hit 🙂

Session 1 – Northcote Primary School ‘Tech Wizards’

Today we had first ever session which was more a meet and greet than anything practical for the kids to do. We had some really interesting discussions around the level of technologies they were all encountering in their day to day lives, as well as some insights into what they knew about Internet usage and things which can get them into strife.

Photo Credit: Laurel AndersonOne learning for me as a lead in the classroom was to make sure that any links which needed pre-testing, were checked from the same accounts that the kids would be using. It seems like an obvious thing in the harsh light of 20/20 hindsight, but the teacher account we checked the link on that morning was able to access Google forms, whereas the kids classroom logins were blocked. Because of this unfortunate turn of events, we ended up with far more talking and way too little doing. The kids were sent home with a worksheet to fill in with the help of their parents on their home computers, which we trust will not be blocked.

Things to improve for next time:

  • Test all external links with the correct account level access
  • Have an offline ‘Plan B’ exercise
  • Less talking, more doing

Time Lapse – Chrysalis Cam

Emerging ButterflyIn February 2011, Room 3 had a problem, they were investigating life cycles – but the Caterpillars they were growing continued to hatch when no one was there to see them – so we put together a notebook + a webcam…
Feel free to skip over rest of the content in this article as what is of interest will vary greatly between viewers – but I wanted to present the whole story in one location in case it is useful to others who are studying similar processes. A PDF on time-lapse and the emerging butterfly video are available here (10.9MB .tar.gz or .zip)

Continue reading Time Lapse – Chrysalis Cam