Miro Museum Photosynth

Hot off the presses!  Here´s our collaboratively built Photosynth from our field trip to the Miro museum!

The synth is actually pretty big – you can use your mouse to explore the initial area of the synth by clicking the edges of the photos that appear below.  There are other areas of the Museum that are part of the synth that are not “connected” to the initial area.  You can jump to those areas by clicking on the “2D view” button and then on one of the other areas of the museum.  Then go back into 3D mode to experience the synth.

QR Codes

What is a QR Code?

QR, or “Quick Response”, codes are 2-dimensional “barcodes” that are used to store information.  Originally used as a way to keep track of inventory in the automotive industry, QR codes have evolved into a technology that lets you easily “tag” physical objects to virtual content.

Reading a QR Code

It’s easy to read a QR code using a mobile device (iPhone, Android, iPad, etc).  All you need to get started is a device that has a camera and a free QR code reader application.  Here’s a quick list of apps that you can use to get started:

iPhone / iPad

  1. Scan
  2. ScanLife
  3. QR Reader for iPhone
  4. QR Scanner
  5. TapReader


  1. Google Goggles
  2. Scan Life
  3. QR Droid
  4. BeeTagg
  5. codeREADr

Mac / PC (with an attached webcam)

  1. http://miniqr.com/reader.php

Once you have a QR reader app installed all you need to do launch it and point it at a QR code.  The app will take a moment to decode the pattern, and once the code is recognized you will be able to view the content that it contains.  For example, if you scan the code below your mobile device will be redirected to the Statue of Liberty homepage.

Creating your own QR Codes

It’s surprisingly easy to create your own QR codes – here’s how!

  1. Decide what you want to encode.  QR codes can store text, links to websites, and shortcut commands (such as “text this number” or “call this number”).  Most people use QR codes to create links to websites and store small text based messages.
  2. Next, visit a QR code creator – my favorite QR code creation site is http://qrcode.kaywa.com/
  3. Select what you want to encode using the buttons provided and then paste in your message in the blank labeled “content”.  Then click the “Generate” button create your code.  You can copy and paste your code into a Word document, print it out on a standard laser printer, or place a copy of it on your class website or blog.

Some QR Code Projects for Teachers


URL Shorteners

Has this ever happened to you?

If so, it’s time to explore the wonderful world of URL shorteners!

A URL shortener is a web service that converts long, inconvenient URLs into smaller, more manageable ones that can easily be shared.  They have gained in popularity over the last few years due to the rise of social media sites such as Twitter due to the fact that they take up less “space” than a fully qualified URL.

You can actually shorten any URL quite easily – here’s how:

  1. Find a URL you want to shorten and visit it in your browser.  Copy the URL to your clipboard using Edit -> Copy
  2. Visit one of these URL shortener sites:
    1. Google URL shortener:  http://goo.gl/
    2. Bit.ly:  https://bitly.com/
  3. Paste in your long URL and get a tiny version

That’s it!  Enjoy! 🙂

Submit your Miro Digital assets

I know that a lot of you were able to take some great photos from our recent trip to the Miro museum.  If you could, please try and get those photos to me sometime over the weekend.  Here are two ways you can submit them:

  1. If you are in the Bellver computer lab: Put your photos on a USB drive, plug into a lab machine and drag / drop the photos to the H: drive (click on My Computer and then on the H: drive).  There is a folder called “Trends 2012 Pictures”
  2. If you want to e-mail your photos:  Send them to our new e-mail account, ‘trendstcnj@gmail.com” – remember that you will probably have to send just a few at a time since most e-mail programs won’t accept messages with very large attachments.

Design Resources


Being colorblind is tough. I can’t tell the difference between reds, greens and browns, and even some blues and purples give me trouble. Matching colors has always been a nightmare for me, and for a long time my digital projects looked as though they were thrown together in a dark room.

Thankfully technology came to my rescue a few years back and provided me with a number of software packages that help me to compensate. Here are two of my favorites:

  1. Colr.org (http://colr.org/): Create a color scheme from any image – just upload a photo or pick on on Flickr and have the program select a color-correct palette for you!
  2. Color Scheme Designer (http://colorschemedesigner.com/): Use color theory to mathematically select perfect color combinations. Amazing!


  1. Fontifier (http://www.fontifier.com/): Fontifier lets you design your own font using a downloadable PDF template. To use it, simply hand-write the individual letters and numbers that you would like to include in your personal font. Scan the paper in and voila – instant font! It costs US $9 to create a font through this tool.
  2. daFont (http://www.dafont.com/): Thousands of free fonts for both Macs and PCs.
  3. 1001 Free Fonts (http://www.1001freefonts.com/): The name says it all!

Digital Storytelling Tools



Storybird lets you create web-based and printed books using a gallery of high-quality artwork. Books can be embedded on a website, downloaded as PDF files or ordered as hard-cover books from the company. Creating web-based books is free, and teachers can use a built-in classroom management tool to create anonymous usernames and passwords on behalf of their students.

Note that only teacher accounts can embed books, so you’ll want to sign up for one before you get started.  You can do that by filling out this quick and easy registration form.



Tikatok is a web-based storytelling tool that lets you create books using your own uploaded images. Books can be linked from your website and can be ordered as hard-cover books from the company.

Sample Tikatok book: Hansel, Gretel and Bob

Pic Lits


Pic Lits is a simple image captioning program that is useful for creating simple one image stories with your students.  You can use a pre-set list of words to drag and drop captions onto a series of pre-selected photos.  Great for practicing ESL and ELL.



Kerpoof is a web-based storytelling tool that lets you create “comic book” style stories. You can view your stories online, print them out and author your stories with a fairly large library of free characters and backgrounds. Kerpoof also allows you to create short animated movies and greeting cards. Teachers can requests access to a classroom management tool to create accounts on behalf of their students.

Sample Kerpoof movie: Panda vs. Bunny



ZooBurst is a digital storytelling tool that lets anyone create their own 3D pop-up books. Books can be viewed online, embedded on your website or experienced in Augmented Reality. The site offers a basic user account that lets you create up to 10 3D pop-up books that can be viewed online and embedded onto your own website or blog. In addition, ZooBurst offers a paid premium account that allows you to set up accounts on behalf of your students, record audio into your books as well as access member only content, such as holiday-themed templates.



Prezi is a “zooming” presentation tool that lets you organize text, images and video in a fun, flowing way. Prezis can be viewed online and embedded onto your website or blog.

Example Prezi: Alice in Wonderland



Create your own 3D animated movies by writing your own script and “directing” a series of virtual characters.

Example movie: Danka’s Debrief

Zimmer Twins

Zimmer Twins is a fun video creation website that lets you create simple movies using pre-rendered cartoon footage.  Students can construct timelines that use a wide range of scenes that can be customized with their own text.  Stories can be published online and linked from your website or blog.

Example:  Prime Numbers

YouTube Search Stories


Create your own “search story” using Google searches set to music.

Example: Graduation


iStopMotion is a desktop based tool that lets you take a series of “snapshots” to construct a stop motion animation. The package is not free, but a single license starts at $12.99 on the Mac App Store. Stop Motion animation is time consuming, but the end result can be pretty spectacular. Here are a few examples:

The Arctic Race

The Arctic Race from Elif Atali on Vimeo.



An extremely simple slideshow tool that lets you make professional looking videos out of your own digital photographs.  Their free version lets you make 30 second videos, but you can upgrade to their premium package to construct longer projects.

Blogging Categories & Tags

During your experience with blogging over the last few days you may have noticed the terms ‘Categories’ and ‘Tags’ when working with your posts. These two features allow you to provide additional classification information about your posts and they content that they contain. Here’s a brief overview of how to use these features.


Categories allow you to group your posts based on their content. For example, on our blog we have categories for ‘Announcements’, ‘Blogging’ and ‘Web 2.0′. When I create a new post I can select the most relevant category from the listing on the right side of the screen. A post can be a member of multiple categories, and you can create new categories from this listing as well.

There is a ‘Categories’ widget that can be added to your blog via the Appearance -> Widgets menu. This widget will provide a listing of categories on the side of your blog. Clicking on a category name will display only posts associated with that particular category.


Tags work almost the same as categories, but instead of setting up all tags ahead of time you can simply create them as you go along. Think of them as a “looser” classification system. For example, if I have a post that talks about Google Docs I would probably file it under the ‘Web 2.0′ category. I would then use the tags feature to further define the post. I may use tags such as ‘Google Docs’, ‘Web-based spreadsheet’, ‘data collection’, and ‘collaborative document creation’.

There is also a ‘Tag Cloud’ widget in addition to the Categories widget discussed above. This widget will display a “cloud” of tags on the sidebar of your blog simliar to the tag cloud generated by wordle.

Click here for more information from wordpress.org on Categories & Tags.

Google Alerts

A ‘Google Alert’ is a way to sign up to be notified when a certain search term shows up on the Internet. Here’s how to get started:

  1. Visit http://www.google.com/alerts
  2. Type in a search term – a preview of your search will appear on the right side of the screen
  3. Select your search options, including how often you would like your search to be performed and e-mailed to you
  4. Click the Create Alert button

Google Alert Interface

In class I signed up for a Google Alert based on the keywords “boston terrier” – here’s what I just got via e-mail. So cute!