Teenagers and the Web

ClassPods Five Weeks of Fun

I haven’t written a post for nearly 2 months but have been spending nearly ever day of the past 2 months on my laptop, I have been teaching and developing software. This is a short rundown of my experience with a group of great teenagers that I introduced to the web one day a week over a five week period.
In the last term of school I have had a group of 14, 15 year olds for one day a week over 5 weeks showing them all the wonders of the web. They were a great group of kids from 3 different high schools, they created blogs, added to a class wiki, created iGoogle pages and lastly created podcasts.

I was surprised how little of these technologies they knew or had even heard about. I think the more we use these things like blogs, wiki’s flickr, twitter and facebook ourselves we assume that others, especially the teenagers also know about them. They had a great knowledge of what games they can play online, chat programs and some knew about MySpace and most had an email account and all knew about YouTube, but that was about it. They did not know what Blogs, wiki’s or podcasts were.
The challenge with this group was how to show them how to use these technologies, keep it interesting, relevant and get through the work in the small amount of time we had. They had set tasks to complete each week and this was all detailed for them on a class wiki that I set up, this also contains links to their blogs, del.icio.us accounts and podcasts.

When it came to creating podcasts I had visions of copyright issues spinning around in my head and eventually I thought of using Nursery Rhymes. I decided that the easiest way to get them to create their podcasts was to give them a list of Nursery Rhymes. These are the steps that they followed:

They each picked one Nursery Rhyme and then created a PowerPoint presentation of the Nursery Rhyme.

A new slide was used for each line of the Nursery Rhyme and they had to add appropriate images.

The slides from the Presentation were saved as images, a handy feature of PowerPoint.

Then using Windows Movie Maker they imported the slides, recorded the Rhyme and added transitions and effects.

Once this stage was completed they saved the Movie file.

Then using SUPER © they converted it to a mp4 format.

I created a podomatic site for the class, they uploaded their podcasts and now they can been seen by all.

Most of them created 2 podcasts and really enjoyed it, although some of the recordings don’t sound “too enthusiastic“, as the first thing they said when recording their voices was ” I don’t sound like that!”.

All in all it was a great exercise, exhausting but enjoyable. My adventure into the world of web 2 and more my inspiration and knowledge comes from my friend Sue who introduced and taught me how to use them. She is a wealth of knowledge and shares it with all, thanks Sue ūüôā

iPhone Cool or Not?

The release date of the iPhone in the US has been announced – June 29.

Photo from Apple

I have read a lot of articles complaining about the user interface but I think it looks pretty cool, and defiantly aimed at the¬†young¬†phone user market.¬†The large icons on the screen would make it easy to navigate through the device but I¬†haven’t seen any pics to show what sort of keyboard screen it has¬†for¬†text messaging.¬†It has storage of 4GB or 8GB and also includes a 2 megapixel camera. It is a shame that it won’t be on the 3G network with its specs saying it is only 2.5G. Battery life is supposed to be about 5 hours with 16 hours standby and has Bluetooth and WiFi. As usual Apple have some neat ads and a gallery of images that can be viewed on their site. Looking at some of the images in their gallery you have to wonder if this will bite into their ipod market? Images show Album covers and songs playing on the iPhone. It looks like it will be about $600US. So if you want one device that plays music, takes photo’s and makes phone calls then this may be what you are after. Don’t know when it will be in Australia but I have no doubt it will soon be the new cool thing to have among teenagers.

Photo from Apple

Create ebooks for you ipod

You can create notes to read on your ipod. To make it easy to convert webpages and text documents to notes you can use the online service at ipod notes.

Or you can do it the hard way by coding the pages yourself Make ebooks for your ipod guide

Apple have a pdf that can be downloaded that also shows you how to create notes.

iPodulator Pro is another program that allows you to add all sorts of content to your ipod and best of all its free. just be careful when loading onto your ipod though I know of someone who found they were downloading links that were 100’s deep.
There are plenty of other ways of doing this and sometimes it works really well, especially if you convert web pages that don’t hold too many images. Text based is best. But if you want to read some pages offline it is quick and easy and because the ipod is so small it makes it so mobile. Have a go!