Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Story of Stuff

I was hoping to add at least one more blog entry before we break for the Holidays and fortunately I was introduced to The Story of Stuff just a day or two ago.

The Story of Stuff is an online 20 minute flash movie describing how stuff is created, produced, consumed and discarded. On the one hand I thought it would be helpful for Social Science and Geography teachers, or anyone teaching World Issues. It's an excellent video that is engaging and challenging, and would open up a host of projects inside the classroom.

Every kid in school should show this to their parents (I don't think we should have mandatory anything for students, since invariably, mandatory for kids means that it's something the parents should watch, feel guilty about not watching, and force the future to see.)

The other reason I bring this up is because I think this is a great online presentation and is a great indication of where things online are going. We recently received invites to an open house at our web developers using similar technology where they recorded each greeting and put them into a card with the information about the event - essentially it looked just like the Story of Stuff but was asking us to attend.

Very cool and would make a great project. Either way happy viewing!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Podcasting for the Beaver

This week the Beaver launches it's first podcast interview. The interview was conducted with Joyce Glasner about her story on the Halifax Explosion.

We started with our trusty USB microphone that we had purchased previously (about $40). To conduct the interview we downloaded Skype, an online phone that works through your Internet connection. Phoning from one computer to the another with Skype is actually free, and you can order minutes to phone out to regular land lines. We ordered $15 worth of minutes which works out to several hours of phoning time.

Once we downloaded Skype, we downloaded Hot Recorder (for those of us on PCs) and Call Recorder (for the Mac users in our editorial department). Both programs run about $15 to download and will record the calls as they come in. Now that you have a record, you just need to edit it using Audacity, your free audio editing software mentioned here before.

Instant podcasting that within one morning had us downloaded, set up, and ready to go. Special thanks to several websites that help us find the programs we needed as well like Hot Recorder and Call Recorder.

To post our podcast online we used Podbean, and online podcast host that will help you get started for free and if you really get going you can upgrade to professional accounts afterwards.

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And you can now hear the first ever Beaver podcast interview conducted by Kristen Fry with Joyce Glasner. Keep an eye out for more podcasts as these interviews become a regular feature with The Beaver magazine.

*** Special thanks to Joyce Glasner who is an incredibly passionate historian and whose moving stories made our first Podcast extremely easy.