Friday, 24 August 2007

Google Reaches for the Sky

The latest version of Google Earth (4.2)was released earlier this week and contains a great new feature, Google Sky. This new resource allows you to view the night sky from any position on earth, observing constellations and galaxies as well as tracking life cycles of stars.

It's well worth getting the free upgrade to Google Earth to allow this feature on your computer. For those still using Google Earth 3 it's important to upgrade as developers are adding new content to the software all the time.

The next big development is the ability to placemark Youtube videos onto Google Earth. Hopefully we'll add a Kellett video to the Hong Kong map soon.

Google Sky can be downloaded via Google Earth here;

Below, astronaut Sally Ride discusses Google Sky on Youtube.

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

New Building (Part Two)

Now that all staff are back in school there was an opportunity to see how the building had progressed since our last update at the end of June.

As you can imagine things have really moved on and the Y5/6/7 teachers have all moved into their sparkling new classrooms.

The new ICT suite looks great and the brand new computers are ready to be installed (hopefully today). We also have two other new suites being installed, one which will be used for language teaching and one next to the Library, which will be filled with Macbooks.

All the machines in the network suite are fitted with 2GB of Ram which means we shuld have no problem with more demanding tasks such as video editing and sound work.

Monday, 20 August 2007

Avril in HK

Avril Lavigne's show at Asia Expo on the weekend was a great chance to see how the Canadian singer was able to handle a large venue, and the sell-out crowd present were treated to a barnstorming show from the outset. Her latest album featured heavily amongst the songs performed, with Girlfriend kicking off the show. There aren't many poor songs in her catalogue and she dutifully pulled out all the old favourites from Sk8tr Boi through to a final rendition of Complicated, which followed a cover of Blink 182's Small Things.

One or two Kellett students, past and present were spotted amongst the audience, so any opinions on the evening would be gratefully received by this blog! You know who you are!

Lavigne's popularity on the net means that her videos are often used as inspirations for Machinima. Machinima is a relatively new form of film where film-makers can use the graphics engines of computer games such as Sims2 to script and shoot their own movies. Many games designers are now incorporating aspects of Machinima into their games designs which will results in ease of use as well as improved quality of the end product.

We hope to have a look at aspects of Machinima before the year is out at Kellett.

The video below is a Machinima version of Avril Lavigne's Sk8tr Boi. Click on the arrow to play the track.

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Game On!


The Game On exhibition at the Cyberport was originally displayed at the Barbican in London a couple of years ago. I'd meant to try and visit it then, and could never have imagined I'd finally get to see it in Hong Kong!

So is it worth a visit? You bet! It's excellent value for money and you could quite possibly stay there for the whole day. I managed a couple of hours before I had to leave.

The early part of the exhibition deals with the original arcade games of the early 80s and it was great to be able to play the likes of Asteroids and Galaxians again; two games which cost me most of my pocket money/earnings in my youth. The great thing about Game On though is that you don't need any coins once you've paid your entrance fee as all the games are free.

There's also a chance to see some of the early consoles including the Sinclair Spectrum (the first computer I owned), the Sega Mega Drive, and the original GameBoy.

The newer games are well worth a play with Sony's Playstation 3 looking particularly impressive with it's Formula One game. It was also my first chance to have a go on Nintendo's Wi and that's gone up a few places on the Christmas list.

For anybody with an interest in computer games, Game On is an essential visit as it gives visitors a chance to play some of the games that paved the way in the industry and compare them with the graphically complex games we're used to today.

For those of more mature years such as myself it's a chance to re-live the dim and distant days of youth and recall hours of dubious fun.

Saturday, 4 August 2007

Surf's Up

It seems ages ago that we spent time with some of Year 6 looking at the trailer for Surf's Up. We played the video with sound only to allow us to think of how the film might look. It was impossible to know from the sound only version that the hero was a penguin!

Well, the film has been released in HK now and it's well worth a visit; great animation, good sense of humour and a mighty soundtrack. It's the best film about talking penguins that I've seen in ages...

The official web site is a cracker too, not only do you get all the usual trailers and clips, there's a nice video editing program that allows you to edit together a SPEN (Sport Penguin Entertainment Network) show via a video timeline... good practice for video editing work in the forthcoming year.

Here's the link.

Friday, 3 August 2007

Game On @ Cyberport

Until 7th October the Cyberport is hosting an exhibition called Game On, which looks at key developments in computer gaming from the 1960s to the present day.

Open every day and priced at $30 for students, this looks well worth a visit.. those born in 1997 get free entry too.

Although I was born a little before then I'll be hoping to pay a visit to Game On before the new term starts and I'll post here when I've been. In the meantime if anybody else has already visited the exhibition, please let us know how it was.

Thursday, 2 August 2007

CP3 Day Five and Summary

Like many delegates the main concern on Sunday was trying to find a way through the floods as most trains going South were cancelled.

However, there was the opportunity to spend time reviewing Media Wales' "Making Movies Make Sense" resource. This is clearly an excellent edition to any school planning detailed digital video work and hopefully one will be winging it's way to Hong Kong very shortly.

Despite the hasty departure, the Conference was a huge success and gives us a great impetus to continue extending work on digital media in the coming years. There are huge implications for schools as they attempt to engage cohorts of digital immigrants and successfully implementing these types of activities into the curriculum will, I'm convinced, impact greatly upon our students.

Many thanks to Film Education for providing such a stimulating and enjoyable event.

Creating A FIlm

For the final practical session at the CP3 Conference, delegates worked in small groups planning, shooting and editing a three minute film based on a short story.

With some of the excellent buildings available at the University of Leicester it was possible to shoot in a variety of locations to construct our story. Working with Damaris from CLEO and Brigette from Moor House School in Oxted we spent four hours collecting enough footage to convey a fair amount of the story.

However, the real skill was in the editing and this proved to be extremely challenging, taking us almost as long as the filming itself. We did manage to piece together our work pretty well and the overall result was fairly pleasing, despite some dodgy acting from the male member of the group!

Careful planning was a key aspect of the process and this is something that's easy to forget in a classroom situation. Likewise, the importance of editing.

Day Four ended with a presentation of all 16 films created by the delegates at CP3. There were a wide variety of interpretations of the text and some really impressive film-making.

The task was an extremely challenging one for delegates both in technical and practical terms, but it also helped us to think about how the process of film-making can be tackled by our students.