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Fun how to ICT ideas

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!

 

IMG_2077

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!

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Fun how to ICT ideas

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

[av_one_fifth first]
TinyPNG[/av_one_fifth]

[av_one_fifth]Eyks[/av_one_fifth]

[av_one_fifth]Concern[/av_one_fifth]

[av_one_fifth]Puppies[/av_one_fifth]

[av_one_fifth]Kittens[/av_one_fifth]

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

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Apple how to ideas testing new stuff

Accessing iBooks from online

Just a proof of concept that uploading an iBook for parents at schools can happen as easily as a Parent iBook proof of concept download link.

How to get it working in WP

So you’re going to need to add a MIME type to your WordPress if you want to download iBooks from it =)

Go find a plugin

I’m not going to tell you to jump in and modify your function or phpconfigs – go find a plugin. I use Manage Upload Types v1.2  by Jeremy Madea you can get it by visiting the Manage Upload Type plugin site.

Once you have a MIME type configuration tool you will need to add the following type:

ibooks        application/x-ibooks+zip

It only took a little googling to find This solved my question Re: Ibooks – download website link not working on the Apple Support forums. So full kudos to v76yo who already did the hard work for us.

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how to ideas Jump Old Posts testing new stuff

Drop in Jump page

While we are building the how-to on creating website layout for education we recognise that some of you out there need a solution for now. So with that in mind we have knocked up a quick Jump page that can be used to navigate between your disparate systems.

Fair warning: this solution is for those of you happy to play with HTML

 

Corpus Jump page

How do I make it work?

All you need to do is dump the unzipped contents of the download into the root HTML file of your site and then adjust the links and pics. The CSS will make sure the site is responsive and looks good on any device. It is licensed under Creative Commons 3.0 so feel free to modify, adapt and share it however you like.

 

Tips to tweak it

The images for the links are 640×360 (16:9 ratio) so they should look great even on a fullscreen 27″ iMac – looks sweet on an iPad too. BTW its also pretty small @388Kb!

 

Making icons look pretty

We will cover how to make sweet touch icons later but for now you might like this little helper to convert your logo image into every kind of webclip icon you’ll need with correct names including the favicon.

Webclip icons

 

Download it

We used the Corpus Christi College intranet as content for the template to show the site as a working demo.

Drop in Jump page

Categories
Apple how to Old Posts testing new stuff

iTunes U – Course image title bar colour

How obscure can those little finishing touches be?

Currently we’re doing a set of Course Images for an iTunes U course so we can get a College wide branding.

We wanted to now how to get the title of the course label across the bottom to be the colour we wanted. We could tell that it was automatically grabbed from the image and after some emails back and forth to Apple we found out that there is a specific pixel that is used to select the colour.

So we could brand each area with their colours and still have a nice constant look and feel we decided to try it out. Unfortunately  we had a bit of a communication break down and add to that nowhere on the net we could find the answer we just went off and trial by error found the right one. Thats when realised that engineers count different to us.

 

what I’d google search for this article: iTunes U course image title bar colour  how to set or change

 

engineers:

Use the pixel as shown below 5 in and 5 up from the bottom left (starting on the first pixel as 0)

 

everyone else

Use the 6th pixel in from the left and 6th pixel from the bottom (starting on the first pixel as 1)

 

Its not really that confusing when you look at the picture:

iTunes U course title bar colour pice

 

 

The image has to be 600*600px…

yes we know that it says “or larger”, we tried uploading a 1200*1200px image on our first few times and it didn’t work. We adjusted the image size to 600px and it went up first shot.

We’ve been discussing if we should make an app for creating the cover images and setting the title bar colour if you’re interested just leave a comment  and we’ll let everyone know what happens.