12.04.2008

Apples in Singapore

There seems to be some unseen forces at work that are bringing the totems of my childhood into the 21st century. First there was the new View-Master slides, then the polaroids...
and now this:
Last week my colleagues Jonathan Chambers, Amanda DeCardy, Tom Banaszewski and I arrived in Singapore to attend the 2008 Apple Distinguished Educator Institute. We spent the first night walking around Clark Quay, a pedestrian street where there was a huge community Lite Brite board. So apparently they are taking photos of the results and posting them on an online community, but I haven't been able to find it.

The following day the institute was kicked off and we've had some great discussions from the apple team about 21st century pedagogy. Of course there was much discussion and 'challenges' in using iLife and other apple apps in the classroom. However, the conversation was also extended to non-apple web 2.0 tools, including a great talk by Lucy Grey about Flickr, Twitter, and Google Maps.

On Sunday night we went to see 18 Grams of Love, a wonderful independent film by Singaporean filmmaker, Yew Kwang Han. Unfortunately, due to some arcane film distribution laws in Singapore, it sounds unlikely it will be played abroad from here any time soon. However, you can at least watch the trailer:




It was a really excellent film, shot on location in 11 days in a warehouse. I'll take a low budget labor of love over a polished hollywood film any day.

The following day we began a two day project in which we were required to go out into the community and create a collaborative project for the Apple Learning Interchange. I teamed up with some of my colleagues from the Shanghai Student Film Festival Team- Mikey McKillip and David Larson, as well as Timothy Bray, who is starting a partner festival in Seoul. We decided we'd want to make good use of the limited amount of time we have here in Singapore, so we ventured off to do a project on one of the most important issues we could think to deal with - food. Our final project, iTooth, was a Ning site where students can exchange ideas about exploring culture through food. There's even a sample video in which you can see us embarrassing ourselves in the name of education.

Last evening we were introduced to photographer Peng-Eik Chng, who offered us some tips on digital photography. Feeling over-saturated with digital photo research from the summer in preparation for my classes this year, I'm not sure that I heard anything revolutionary from him- but he laid out all of the important points well, including his interesting definition of composition: the imposition of order and structure on the chaotic world around us.

Other points:

  • If you can not explain what you are trying to communicate in a photograph, then you are just taking snap shots.
  • If there are too many answers, you should probably be taking more pictures.
  • Have I chosen the subject?
  • Does it stand out?
  • Is the background pleasing or distracting?
  • Is there good light for the subject?
We also had a quick session on Aperture 2, more powerful than iphoto, more forgiving than Photoshop. Not a replacement of photoshop to be sure, but because of its non-linear photo editing capabilities, certainly it has some big advantages for a certain kind of photo editing.

I gave a presentation for an un-conference session, which I called "Film-making: Festivals and Final Cut". Here I introduced the S2F2 Festival and encouraged others to start building festivals in their schools and communities as we work towards a regional festival. I also did a very rushed and quick introduction to Final Cut Express.

Finally, we had an open session in which anyone who wanted two minutes to share some useful resources could take the stage. Here were some of the resources that my fellow ADEs found particularly helpful:

Planbook is web based planner.
30 Second Bunny Theater teachers students about story structure (it really does).
CosmoPod allows you to download and convert online movies from almost any set. Costs about $10 (similar to TubeTV).
Virtual Box allows you to run Windows or Linux on your mac (if that's your thing).
Sailling Software provides applications that let you use your mobile phone to access and control your iTunes libraries, and even work as a remote control for your computer.
The Voices of Asia is a new blog authored by Apple Distinguished Educators in Asia.
Picture Sync allows you to upload your pictures to multiple online sites at once (i.e. Flickr, Picasa, Facebook, Bubbleshare, Photobucket).
Mousepose - allows your keyboards to show up on the screen.
Xtranormal - create your own animations just by typing in text (mentioned here earlier).
Diigo, the social bookmarking tool, can be used to correct student text through highlights and sticky notes.
...and it's about holiday time, don't forget to go elf yourself.

3 Comments:

  1. Jeff K said...
    ery Cool Site. A lot to tak in. I added it to my favorites!
    TS Bray said...
    David,
    This is a great re-cap of the ADE conference and an excellent list of resources. I have them thanks to being a ADE now, but it is great to get these tools out there to others. Thanks.
    dsgran said...
    Thanks Jeff, its an honor!
    Tim- Thanks, there was so much to take in, I'm sure I missed a lot as well.

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