Free Customised Recording Booths for Classrooms

Getting creative with teaching and learning spaces is a challenge, especially when you need to record something.

Being able to record your voice quickly and easily is one of the best upgrades that classroom technology has had in the last few years. With an emphasis in schools on literacy, teachers are often looking for ways to improve student’s reading and listening capacity. There are countless apps to use to record student’s voice, but the most difficult thing is to find a place to record in the bustling classroom.

Enter the trusty photocopy box! I am always looking for a way to recycle and repurpose items in a school and this has proven to be a perfect solution to the recording problem. With a small semicircle cut at the top for the student to put their head into, the box becomes a perfect sound recording booth, with the iPad inside. I have been making these for many years and still get asked about them!

 

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With much emphasis on the open learning spaces in the classroom we want students to be flexible in where they can record, but still stay within sight of the teacher. It works particularly well with the smallest members of our schools!

Pokemon Go @ School

If you work in a school, you are going to have to deal with the fact that students (and teachers) are going to play this during class time. I know some of you’ve built great digital citizenship at your schools and have guidelines in place like: games allowed during break only etc… but this is going to push all the boundaries you have in place.

Get behind it or on top of it, you can not ignore it.

 

It’s only just been released, it hits the sweet point of everyone under 25 and the gamers/geeks above that. It’s family friendly and firmly rooted in our pop culture. This will be somewhat of a storm in a teacup when you return to school after these holidays, it will eventually die back down in popularity but there will remain a large portion of users that are dedicated. So take the initiative and set the expectations your school or classroom has about Pokemon Go. I hope you get behind it because there are some great opportunities for learning and some very cool things you could do.

Below we’ll look at what you need to be aware of and share some ideas of what you can take advantage of too. You can check their support page for most FAQs about the app and if you still have a question just ask it in our comments section.

 

Start now

Simply put, decide which side of the fence you sit on and get into it, either Gotta catch ’em all or No pokemon for you. Once you’ve made that decision you need to decide how you’re going to respond, then you’re going to need to send some emails.

Gotta Catch ’Em All

  • Post to Facebook the pokemon seen at your school
  • Introduce the gym or pokespot and the significance of the artwork/landmark
    • Let them know the school will be running events around Pokemon Go
  • Run weekly competitions
    • Biggest catch
    • Most number of specific type of Pokemon
    • Most number of Eggs hatched in a week
  • Check the Learning Opportunities section below and share some ideas with relevant staff

No Pokemon For You

  • Send your staff an email reminding them about your schools policy for games and the use of devices on school grounds
    • If you don’t have a policy for that, consider this an appropriate time to make one
  • Alert them to Pokemon Go and the expected usage at school and ask them to be vigilant in maintaining the school policy
  • If you have a welcome back assembly or morning news, put a piece in about Pokemon Go
    • “I’ve had a much more active term break thanks to Pokemon Go, but I would take this opportunity to ask you all to leave our wild pokemon in peace during school hours and I invite you to battle at the [insert local gym location] gym after school.”

 


AUGMENTED REALITY

There will be injuries to people and damage to devices, the game is played in an app via interacting with real physical locations. Make sure your schools policy about damage to personal devices is up to date/exists and be mindful that there are going to be a few injuries from people not being mindful.

Ensure any physical dangers are clearly signed and take the time to inspect the area before students return. Just imagine what damage a blindfolded person would do to themselves in that area, an impromptu rope fence could save a bunch of drama.


 

Pokestops

PokestopYour school will either have a “Pokestop” on it, or very very close to it, so about 25m around it will become a congregation point.

Pokestops are real artworks or landmarks, in the app you can interact with them to randomly generate items you need to catch pokemon. There is a cool down period of 5 minutes after each interaction. You can also install lure modules into the pokestop that increase the number of pokemon in the immediate area.

There is a lot about community and communication in this game, it is mostly a single player affair even with the Gym component it doesn’t really require a great deal of team work. It does encourage a “look at what I’ve got” sort of thing though and mostly (thanks to the Pokemon series) this is taken as “Well done!” sort of approach, Ash and Pikachu would be disappointed in unfriendly behaviour. Also nobody wants to be thought of as being bad to their pokemon, even Team Rocket (the antagonists) are the most naive of evil characters.

This means that these points of congregation are going to be lively but in general very positive.

Gotta Catch ’Em All

  • Put out signage advertising known pokemon that can be caught
    • Provide seating or umbrellas/shelter
  • Add Lure modules at specific break times you advertise to students

No Pokemon For You

  • Station a duty roster to the position
  • Signage reminding of the school policy and consequences

 

Gyms

GymIf your school has a Gym (in Pokemon Go) on or near it then things are a little different,  it will be a congregation point.

Gyms are real artworks or landmarks, in the app you can interact with them to battle other teams. There are three teams Yellow Blue & Red, any current resident team colours will be added to the Gym image.

Though still mostly positive and also the only teamwork reliant aspect of Pokemon Go, Gym battles are inherently team versus team. There will be some banter and interaction between rival teams but like everything in Pokemon, most people aren’t going to be huge jerks about it.

Gyms are owned by a team until all the stationed pokemon are defeated and another team takes up residence, rinse wash repeat.

Gotta Catch ’Em All

  • Arrange a battle royal
    • Prize is announcing the winner in the newsletter/website
  • Recognition of the top pokemon trainer at the gym at specific time of the week

No Pokemon For You

  • Same as for the Pokespot
  • Monitor for Gym ownership change
    • this would be a bit hypocritical though

 


POKESTOPS & GYMS

Be aware Pokemon Go is GPS based and you must be in proximity to the landmark to interact with it. If you have one onsite, the general public will loiter around it at some point, especially if a Lure module is used.


 

Learning Opportunities

Math

The combination of Combat Power (CP) and Hit Points (HP) that are increased through power ups and evolution currently hasn’t had it’s algorithm released. Nobody really knows but there are some likely variables (like the level of the player themselves).

  • As a class, work out the highest CP and HP of a Pidgey
  • Provide a graph of the increase of CP and HP
    • Starting level Pidgey of 10 CP
    • Ensure the player level is no higher than 10
  • Estimate an equation that is likely to produce this outcome

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  • EXTENDED
    • Split into 3 groups
    • Triplicate the above exercise
      • Are the results consistent
      • What are the possible variables causing differences
    • Test estimated equation against similar and different pokemon

This can go on and on and we haven’t even reached “What effect does Evolution have on CP & HP?”, “Is there a consistent algorithm for all pokemon or just for types or not at all?” and “What is the cheapest way to max out an evolved Pokemon using stardust?”

Plus almost every pokemon has a different weight and height from each other that may or may not be related to the initial CP the pokemon had when captured, can it proven there is a pattern and can it be reverse engineered to show what initial Pidgey capture a Pidgeotto with CP 199, HP 44, Weight 1.29kg, Height 0.93m?

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AIT

There is so much you could look into and do with this that you could throw a pokeball and you’ll hit on something great. For those of you that have a rigid teaching plan in place, you could incorporate this by  getting students to submit there top 5 pokemon and their stats into a spreadsheet and then use that spreadsheet data instead of your carefully prepared donald duck and mickey mouse data.

Biology

Have a look at the Pokedex in the app – the descriptions are great and there are some very nice and simple explanations. Not to mention you can actually make them evolve which leads to some great conversations about what features remained and in what ways they improved, remember they live to battle other pokemon (battles end in a KO, not death). Also remember that pokemon are more often found where they would naturally occur, such Magicarp mostly being found near water.

  • Find 3 animals with a similar adaptation as a Nidoran pokemon
  • List 3 ways Spearow changes when it evolves into Fearow and describe likely factors that make this a positive adaptation (exclude battling as factor)

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Also remember that pokemon are more often found where they would naturally occur, such Magicarp mostly being found near water, so there a few environment things you can tie into.

Tell us

There are so many ways to make Pokemon Go a really positive engagement at your school and we really look forward to hearing ideas and experiences of what the pioneering teachers out there come up with. Please let us know and share any of your ideas in the comments.

Website Image Size is important

It’s like the old spy technology cliché Smaller is Better.

The smaller the file size the faster the load time. Thats pretty much the crux of it, and for schools you’re going to find that your demographics’ internet access speeds vary wildly. So small file sizes for images is pretty important.

At this point I could show you a bunch of speed tests and bench marks but you already understand the idea so instead I’m going to help you do something about it.

Image formats

From here there is a whole conversation about the right type of image format to use in each application depending on image composition. Other people have done it better than me and you probably only use JPG and PNG files. I’m guessing you probably only started using PNG files because of a non-white background somewhere. GIF and SVG have their places too but really lets just focus on the first two because there is weird caveats and complexity that you’r/I’m not interested in today.

Just use PNG

#badlydefinedconcepts OK that is a super generalisation but if you’re reading this then honestly save yourself the drama and get used to working with PNG files.

Compression FTW

Thats how we squish them down to make them smaller. There are a bunch of different types of compression and you probably don’t care about them because you’d need to know the composition of each image and the amount of horizontal or vertical repetition and … complex blah.

The point of this post then?

TinyPNG

This is the answer, it’s been in my bookmarks for so long that my link points to its original .org url. Now save it to your Bookmarks Bar, Favourites or Top Sites because you’re going to use this site alot. This is the finishing tool that makes all the difference. Forget about the rest of it this site is MAGIC.

Magic tricks

All images uploaded to TinyPNG where fullscreen screenshots @ 2880 × 1800 px.

Screen Shot 2016-05-31 at 7.04.42 PM

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Eyks

Concern

Puppies

Kittens

It makes a difference to your users, you might be surprised how heavy websites are now and paying attention to the details is important.