Sunday, November 30, 2008

TED Talks

I will edit this in morning.... (as of 7:00am these videos were still blocked, I have sent an email to try to figure out what the issue is....)

One thing you want to do in life is get around smart people. I was lucky to go to a school that had really, really smart people around. Listening to them makes life interesting.

Many of you have seen some of the TED talks before. TED is a place where smart people get together and kind of do a show and tell.

I would like you to watch at least two videos today from start to finish. Everyone must watch the Theo Jansen video. I give you some prompts to start a discussion on your blog. Each of these videos is about 10-20 minutes long. They say teenagers can't pay attention to anything. Prove them wrong.

Hans Rosling: How data is cool. Think of your little Excel charts. Will you be ready to use data like this. This guy is fun to listen to.
Jeff Han: How displays will change. This would profoundly change how we use computers.
John Maeda: A smart, funny guy talks about simplicity. Think about how simplicity is the driving force in design (hint: iPods).
Nicholas Negroponte: Would you spend your life on a project that helps others? Does listening to the originator of the idea change your vision of this program?
Theo Jansen: Freaky. Mind-blowing. But pay attention. What is life? Can you make something that lives out of PVC pipe? He does. Cyborg alert!
Blaise Aguero y Arcos: Demonstrates Photosynth. Wow. The Notre Dame cathedral thing is amazing. Can you think of ways you could use this software?
Anand Agarawala: The BumpTop desktop. Certainly a different set-up! Would this help you search your photographs?

What did you learn? Share what you learned. Start a conversation. Can you add something to a discussion?

Be sure to have links to the talk on your blog.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Site of the Month

OK: Check out MrPicassoHead.

1. Easy to use.
2. Teaches you something about Picasso's art.
3. You use the site, you don't read it.
4. It gives you a product that you can "hang" on your blog.

Can you find a cooler site? That is today's challenge.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I'm pretty proud of my clustrmap on the right side of this blog.  You can see the last years clustrmap at the bottom of this blog.  We seem to get hit pretty regularly.  If you search for "web design assignment" or "web design exam" we come up near the top.

How did this happen?  Not sure.  But its cool.

So they archive the map soon and I lose all my red dots and have to start fresh again.  I'm a bit melancholy as we turn over into a new chapter, but I'm excited about the new challenge of filling a fresh map.

How are your maps developing?  Are you writing so people want to return?

Quiz: Reflection

Today we will reflect on the past week. I have asked you to look at several websites and in some way (design, podcast, making connections) improve your own sites. Hopefully we all learned something. Many of you have finally accepted some design mantras I have been spewing (font size, logo placement, do the layout first).


1. What have you learned?
2. List three qualities of an effective website.
3. Provide an example of an effective website.

Each question should be answered in 4-5 sentences. Focus on your writing. We have much fewer grades this marking period so each little quiz has a large impact on your grade.

Monday, November 24, 2008


We have been asked to fill out this survey from some people in the United Kingdom. It is anonymous. Please complete it carefully. It should take five minutes.

The "Interlude" will continue this week. If you have redone a website please save the version to the UDrive in the same folder as the old version. It will be nice to compare. Most of you couldn't look at your two versions without giggling last week. Keep working on making your design cleaner and more modern. I think this can be a very productive use of our time.

The latest Tom Friedman column is worth reading.

This video might give you Wisdom.

Gadgetwise might be something to add to your Google Reader. It usually has some interesting stuff.

You might find this quiz interesting.  Its not easy (I got 87%)

Here is a little known (and possibly useless) fact:

The Town of Seymour was originally named Chusetown. It was then renamed Humphreysville. In 1850 the townspeople wanted to change the name to Richmond, but then agreed to honor Governor Thomas Seymour by naming the town Seymour.

It took me about five minutes to find this. I was just curious. There are 6-7 other Seymours in the USA. I wonder if they were named after the same Seymour? I'm kind of glad the town isn't named Chusetown or Humphreysville.

Friday, November 21, 2008


The market is now significantly lower than what it was when we were worried a few weeks back. Unemployment is spreading and the coming budget cycle for schools and governments will be an exceedingly tough one.

Some say we could be in for a wild ride today. Follow the jumps.
In other news: perhaps more evidence for you to avoid supplements and vitamins. I continue to be amazed at the athletes who consume drinks that hurt their kidney function and take supplements that either do nothing, or worse, do harm. Click here for the nutrition guidleines we have used.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Interlude

I have debated what to do over the next 4-5 days. This will not be a week of great attendance with a big field trip today and many students on vacation next week. So I have decided to have an interlude. An interlude moves us from one section of a play or music to the next. When we return we will start our final (!!) group of projects. I am working right now on the big project for each class.

So these next few days can be challenging if you decide to be lazy and annoying. Or they can be fun and exciting because you tackle something new and really work on improving your design. I am keeping this open-ended on purpose. This is your learning time.

Here are some options:

1. Improve your last project based on discussions we have (some of you really need to do this!!). Improve the design and functionality of your page. Write a blog post about how you improve your page. Be sure to save the old copy of the page so we can compare.

2. Start a podcast channel. Update it each day and get ten people to subscribe to it.

3. Update and improve your google reader page and iGoogle page. Make it more efficient so you use it every day.

4. Improve your blog and make connections to people in other classrooms around the world. Try to get ten new red dots this week!

5. Go deeper into learning CSS Code, Dreamweaver techniques, or Scripts.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Project Evaluation

Track meeting today. 2pm.
Today you must complete your project. Please do the following:

1. Check that all of your pictures and videos include "Alt" text.
2. Double check that your page is titled.
3. Ensure that you include only non-copyrighted work, and that you can back that up if I challenge it.
4. Name your folder in the WDrive (Bschneider) and then copy it to the apropriate folder in the UDrive.
5. Have someone else test the links.

Then please complete your evaluation in your blog (due Wednesday).
1. What is the purpose of your website?
2. Did you create an effective website for this purpose?
3. Who in the UDrive has the most effective website? Why? (leave a positive comment on their blog as well)
4. What, if anything, would you do differently if you were starting this project over?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Friday Sites

Some reading for today (just for fun).

1. Great story about Tom Donnelly, coach at Haverford.

2. New way to search on Google. I'm trying hard to make iPhone part of this class. Haven't convinced people yet. How we use "the computer" and how we define "web design" is changing very, very fast.

3. Create a word cloud. Are there alternative ways to display written text? Can a word cloud make your point as well as an essay?

4. Free college ideas.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Today will start mini-projects.  Choose one.

1. Johnny Lee wowed the TED crowd when he showed how he can use a Wii Remote to make a cheap interactive Whiteboard (this video doesn't seem to be playing right now--try this link).  Please create a website (InLit: HTML, Web 2/3: Dreamweaver) that does the following:
  • Embed the TED video.
  • Includes a short moviemaker video or Flash video about the other possible uses for the Wii remote that you create.  
  • Create a table that lists the parts needed and their approximate cost.
  • Links to more information. Use google to search effectively. 
  • A basic description of how it is done.
  • Demonstrate basic web design concepts (usability, accessibility, etc...).
2. I like this website about Thanksgiving.  Can you explain Thanksgiving to someone who has never visited America or heard of the holiday?  Please create a website (InLit: HTML, Web 2/3: Dreamweaver) that does the following:
  • Includes a short moviemaker video or Flash video about the holiday that you create.  
  • Create a table that lists the most common foods served at the Thanksgiving meal.
  • Links to more information. Use google to search effectively. 
  • Demonstrate basic web design concepts (usability, accessibility, etc...).
3. Is a soccer ball heavier when it is cold out?  Does it just feel heavier? Can you kick it as far when it is cold? Please create a website (InLit: HTML, Web 2/3: Dreamweaver) that does the following:
  • Includes a short moviemaker video or Flash video about this that you create. Describe the basic physical laws involved.
  • Create a table that outlines the effect of temperature on the soccer ball. (experiment??)
  • Links to more information. Use google to search effectively. 
  • Demonstrate basic web design concepts (usability, accessibility, etc...).
Things to think about:
1. How will you set up the page (multiple pages, layout, colors, etc...)?
2. How will you make it look modern?
3. How will you utilize sound and video effectively?
4. How will you ensure visitors to your site understand your message?
5. Are there tools we have used that might be effective for this?  Take a moment and look back through your bookmarks or this blog.  Are you bookmarking "cool sites"???

Click here for Rubric.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veterans Day

Veterans Day

Congratulations to Kevin T for winning the Fireworks contest. I posted my Top 4 at the Parent Conference last night. One comment about this took it over the top: "I can feel his pain". That won it for me.  

All of the top 4 got many votes.  Each entry was very different.  One person would say "I like it because its so simple and straight forward".  The next would say "Its too simple and straightforward".  That spoke to what a challenge design can be.  You can't please everybody.

Today we will spend the day reading, listening, and possibly viewing stories about Veterans Day. Be absolutely sure you complete the blog reflection. Learn something new today.

1. First, read this article about Veterans Day from the New York Times. This is an international holiday. The differences between countries and the reasons behind the different celebrations are fascinating.

2. Second, spend some significant time in The War from PBS. Notice how this website is used, not read. This is where I expect you to spend most of your day. Put on your headphones.

3. If you have Veterans in your Geni family tree be sure to note that on their page. If you aren't sure of their service be sure to ask when you get home.

4. We have hundreds of thousands of men and woman who are new veterans. Take a moment to check out their story.  Here is another reminder about the trials some of them face.  Let us also remember that we have a growing total of female veterans.

5. Write a short blog post linking to one of these websites. Choose one of the following questions:

  • What story/website made the most impact on you? Why? Include link.
  • Which website was set up most effectively? Why? Include link.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Veterans Day

The armistice treaty ending the "Great War" was signed on November 11, 1918. It is said that throughout the world nobody had seen so much rejoicing. The world had just experienced unimaginable turmoil, suffering, and pain.
The following year Armistice Day was established on November 11. President Woodrow Wilson said:

To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country's service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nation.

It was a tradition for many years that at 11am on Armistice Day that all traffic would stop, conversations cease, and all focus be made on remembering those who had sacrificed.

In 1953, in Kansas, a town observed "Veterans Day". They felt this paid tribute to the veterans who had served in World War II and the Korean War. While there was much optimism in the country at the time there was also an incredible need to remember those who had served and sacrificed. Vast amounts of men had not come home from these wars.

Congress thought this was a great idea and in 1954 made Veterans Day a national holiday.

Many of you have friends, brothers, sister, fathers, or mothers who have served. If you have a story about them you want to tell please do so today.

Here is the Fireworks contest. All classes are eligible for this contest. Winner will be posted on this blog on November 11.  An example from our Memorial Day contest is seen here (you can see more in the UDrive).

Your assignment is to make a poster about Veterans Day.

Be sure you understand the purpose of Veterans Day before tackling this assignment.

Your assignment is to design an image that could be posted in schools. You will use Fireworks and choose the appropriate tool or tools for your image.

Assignment parameters:

1. You set up the image size when you create a new document: Height=300 pixels, Width =600 pixels.

2. Your images MUST be non-copyrighted. I will publish this!!

3. You must be able to defend your choice of a tool in your blog post.

4. You must include "Veterans Day" somewhere in your image. You might decide to include additional text (date, slogan, etc..).

5. You must finish by the end of the period on Monday November 10.

6. Save in Udrive when done (bschneider) as a .jpg file. All students will save in the same folder so be sure you name it correctly in the WDrive BEFORE you copy it to the UDrive. Be sure to test your work in the UDrive.

7. Hint: Interpolation allows you to blend images. 

Good luck!



1. Take 10 minutes and look through the Election Day assignments in the Udrive. Check out each class (InLit-Web2-Web3).

2. I will grade that your Google Reader is subscribed to my podcast, this blog, and two of your friends blogs today (at least). If you still aren't sure how to do this find a partner.

3. Then--tutorial time. Your choice. Use today to fill in a gap in HTML, Fireworks, or Flash. Check the links on the right side of this page or check back in the posts. Show me your product when done.

Tomorrow we will start our traditional Veterans Day Fireworks assignment.

Just found this idea from David Pogue.  How many of you want one?

Cool story about election news.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


Today's assignment is to report the election results. You must:

--Complete the assignment today. Just like the newspaper or TV you are working on a deadline!!!!
--Be as very unbiased as possible. Be ethical and appropriate.
--Report the basics (who, what, where, when, how).
--Include image and/or interactive tool (Flash, Voki, Movie) that you create. Obtain images only through Creative Commons search or create them yourself.

Interesting Link: Newspaper covers.

Internet Literacy: Do assignment in an HTML webpage

Web 2: Create a website "Election" with a subfolder. Please be sure to title your page and provide alt text for images.

Web 3: Use Flash.

Everything else is up to you--but get it done!! Dont get stuck in a stupid choice. Work fast.

Save to Udrive when done.

Click here for rubric.

Monday, November 03, 2008


I was really impressed with all the work you did for your exams. Everybody showed me some interesting things. Many of us realized some limits in our Flash knowledge (esp. me!) and we worked together to try and solve these issues. Good job!

Everyone has to do #1, 2, 3 today. The rest is for the remainder of time or at home for fun. This is a reading/writing/thinking week.

1. Please answer the following questions on your blog. Keep each answer short (3-4 lines at most).

  • What have you learned so far? Has your view of the internet changed?
  • Who has the best project in the UDrive? Why?
  • What do you think is your strength in this class (collaborating, design, Google, writing, etc...)? What is your weakness?
  • What is the coolest site or program you've seen since we started? Provide link!

2. If there is any "clean-up" in the UDrive to do, come back and see me.

3. On the white board you see a list of 34 items we have covered. Is there anything I am missing??? If so, put it up there.

4. Election News. I'd be curious to find out what you click on first when you visit the page. Think about the design of that page and how it draws you in. Why did you click on something?

5. Fascinating story about how elections have changed because of Web 2.0. This is our class in action!

6. There is always somebody younger than you doing great things. What do you want your New York Times story to say? Have something positive in your life that could get noticed.

7. Check out the Hubble Telescope pictures. Way cool.

8. Has anybody used this picture service? If so write a blog review. I'm considering it.

9. I don't know if teachers assign timelines anymore. If they do check out TimeRime.

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