Thursday, March 26, 2009

Habitudes for College Students - Angela Maiers

Are you ready for tomorrow? It's almost time. Time to put all the years of schooling and studying to work. Some students have already begun dipping their toes in the water. Some have already jumped into the pool called the life/workforce. Whatever depth you're at today, it's a good idea to take inventory. A self-awareness exercise to make sure you're ready to weather any possible storm, to equip yourself with mental ammunition to create and innovate into a world where the only constant is change.

What habits and attitudes - Habitudes will carry you to heights beyond your vision? Your success as a 21st Century student, worker, and citizen lies in your passionate:
  • Imagination
  • Curiosity
  • Perseverance
  • Self-Awareness
  • Courage
  • Adaptability
Join us for a Habitude conversation at the University of Northern Iowa College of Education and the UNI Educational Technology User Group (ETUG) at 7 p.m. Monday, March 30, in Schindler Education Center room 252 at UNI (virtual map).

I'll be co-presenting with my good friend, Andy Drish, a recent graduate who lives his life in Habitude abundance. Our presentation will focus on the differences between being creative on occasion and living each day creatively as a habit and attitude.

For more information about the event, contact Leigh Zeitz (, associate professor of curriculum and instruction at UNI. (319) 273-3249

The information is free and open to the public. Join us! Join us for a conversation about the Habitudes.

We are happy to announce that we will be streaming Angela's presentation. You will be able to watch it live using Real Player.
You will also be able to interact with us through our live online chat.

You can access the presentation or the online chat at the our Habitudes homepage at UNI.
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StoryBlender Can Animate Your Photos

StoryBlender is a new on-line utility that will animate your photos. Tony Vincent twittered that he had tried StoryBlender so I thought that I would wander over and see what was happening.

StoryBlender provides you with a wide assortment of mouths/lips that you can place on photos of your choosing. You can change the size and angle for these mouths so you can make them fit the face. You will see that I placed a set of lips at an angle on my face. (It appears that you can only add one set of lips per photo.) Took a while to get the right fit, but it seems to work. Still looks a little dorky but I have seen worse on the David Letterman Show.

Students could use this technology to animate historical pictures. Imagine having them add voices to George Washington or Madame Curie or Leonardo Da Vinci? It would require them to research what they would have said and how they would have said it.

What do you think? How would you use StoryBlender to bring animation into your educational setting?
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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Halloween in Second Life

Halloween takes on a WHOLE different meaning when you are in Second Life. I was just looking around The Ivory Tower of Primitives tonight when I ventured upon a Haunted House (left). It is similar to Mr. Toad's Wild Ride at Disneyland. You sit in a car, pay $10 Linden (about 2.5 US cents), switch to the Mouse view and it will take you on a 4 minute ride of special effects. Quite innovative. Here is the SLurl

There are other Halloween experiences like the haunted Pumpkin Patch in Shanghai City. It is filled with scary experiences. It is best to turn your "Environment Settings" to midnight.

What have you found?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Wordle: Turning Text into Art

We live in a visual world. Pictures are processed 50,000 times faster than works so anytime that words can be replaced or augmented by images, then new insight and deeper meaning can be conveyed.

Wordle is a "word art" tool that analyzes text or websites to produce a visual representation of the content. Wordle analyzes the "important" words and then creates a "word cloud" where the size of the words is determined by the frequency of use. Here is an example of a Wordle graphic that has analyzed the Dr. Z Reflects site.

How Can Wordle be Used?
Wordle is cool, not doubt about it, but what are the practical applications for it? Obviously, Wordle is a tool that can be used to provide an objective analysis of our writing.
  • Do we tend to use He more than She?
  • Am I using I a great deal as I write about what I believe that I should be doing with my eyes?
  • What words do successful authors use that makes them so appealing?

Let's see what Wordle-using educators have to say:
Here's a Wordle created using the Qur'an:

Do you use Wordle? If so, how? What do you see as prime applications for this tool?


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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Twitter Mosaic and TwitterSheep: See Who is Following You

Twitter is filled with ways to visualize your TwitterWorld.

Here is a mozaic of my twitter followers that I made through Twitter Mozaic:

Get your twitter mosaic here.

If you want to know something about the profiles of those who follow me, you can look at this cloud created by TwitterSheep. (Hmmmm . . . Look at all of those teachers and educators with technology)

Kind of fun to see the ingenuity that has been used to make Twitter more useful and fun to use.

I found these references along with a number of other ideas at the 10,000 words blog.

So do you use a mozaic or word cloud to see who is following you?

If not, what DO you use?

Follow Dr. Z on Twitter by clicking here.


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