Samson Go Mic

The Samson Go Mic is an amazing bit of kit, you would be forgiven for thinking that its cost (you can find it sub £40) would indicate that it would be a low end bit of kit, not the case, and whilst I would still favour the quality of the Blue Yeti Microphone (see earlier posts) this tiny microphone has a lot going for it and especially for its price and feature set.

  • Portable USB condenser microphone
  • Mac and PC compatible, no drivers required
  • Custom, compact design that clips to a laptop or sits on a desk
  • Perfect for recording music, podcasting and field recording, voice recognition software, iChat, VoIP and web casting
  • Switchable cardiod or omnidirectional pickup patterns
  • 16-bit, 44.1kHz resolution
  • Smooth, flat frequency response of 20Hz–18kHz
  • Stereo 1/8″ headphone output for no latency monitoring
  • Includes USB cable, cable clip and carry case
  • Samson Sound Deck Noise Cancellation Software (Mac OS X/Windows) available for purchase
  •  Mic Stand Mount – A standard Euro-mount mic stand mounting hole and included adapters allow you to attach the Go Mic to a standard microphone stand
  • Weight 0.23 lbs. (.105 kg)
  • Dimensions 70.5 mm x 43.5mm x 23mm

What I particularly love about this mic beyond it’s obvious portability (and coping equally well on a stand with a pop filter) is the quality of not only build but the richness, I would even go as far to say that if portability is a key factor this mic is the all-round choice. The inclusion of a greed ‘powered up’ LED that turns red when the audio is going to be clipped by the mic is a great touch (and independent of any hardware it is connected to). It definitely puts high quality audio in the affordable bracket and other than trying to cram in a gain and volume control into an already small form factor its a firm favourite on my travels.

Note: Incidentally Blue have released a new updated ‘Radius II’ shock mount for the Yeti that has firmer fixing.

Advertisements

Return of the Blog

Gravatar

Things have been hectic over the last few months, and unfortunately the blogging has took a back seat. But as things calm down for the summer the posts will increase, in part because I have been itching to start blogging again and in part as I have a whole bundle of things worth blogging about.

New tablets, audio equipment and apps. As well as updates to old posts. So expect regular weekly posts to resume. 

 

Childhood in the Digital Age – Week 4

10903854_10152980488766064_3186461008076560286_o

 

This week I completed the fourth and final week of the the Childhood in the Digital Age FutureLearn online course. This weeks focus was upon technology in the future classroom.

This week, although pitched as future classrooms, outlined what is going on in the classrooms of today. Namely flipped, teachers as mentors, the ability to utilise metrics and enabling individualised support (always a target and a challenge for any educator) and how technology is supporting these endeavours. Going on to enabling self progression coupled with the ability to receive immediate feedback can accelerate learning in comparison with established forms of learning. Two apps that were highlighted was the Open Universities and ‘Our Story’ (for iOS or Android) and the maths apps developed (and later modified for the UK) by One Billion (for iOS) for 3-6 year olds.

This week took about 60 minutes.

Andy

Childhood in the Digital Age – Week 3

10903854_10152980488766064_3186461008076560286_o

 

This week I completed the third week of the the Childhood in the Digital Age FutureLearn online course. This weeks focus is upon thinking and learning behaviours that are emerging from digital learning.

This weeks, the best so far, highlight for me was in regards to “text speak” and a linked to an excellent video resource outlining the ‘problem’ with text speak, not that it has issues in itself but that it is perceived incorrectly. It raises the view that if we look at text speak from a fingered speech perspective then it makes sense, we don’t verbalise with long passages of prefect pronunciation, it utilises conventions that suit its own medium that we have not had the opportunity to develop until the age of the instant mobile communication.

And far from a language decline, written communication is relatively new in our own evolution, text speak should be seen for its creativity, a more natural form of communication and one that is actually evolving. The example is given of the term ‘LOL’ which has evolved from a ‘Laugh Out Loud’ Acronym to one that indicates empathy/agreement or the use of ‘slash’ as a way to move topic which would otherwise be indicated through mannerisms or pauses in face to face communication.

I remember using emoticons and acronyms when using Internet Relay Chat (IRC), emoticons evolving into emojis that has recently had skin tone modifiers,  maybe we should see text speak as more a strengthening of linguistic repertoire than a decline. Surely other systems have evolved? After all we don’t write or speak like Shakespeare and Latin is certainly not mainstream.

Part of this week was also multitasking, when is too much and when is it appropriate, with a fascinating look on the beneficial impact of gaming such as in improved eyesight, attention and tracking and positive effects on those with ADHD such a being less impulsive.

 

This week took about 75 minutes.

Andy

Childhood in the Digital Age – Week 2

10903854_10152980488766064_3186461008076560286_o

 

This week I completed the second week of the the Childhood in the Digital Age FutureLearn online course. This weeks focus is upon childhood personas online and forming friendships that may/may not affect social development.

One forum post pointed to a great video by the raconteur Stephen Fry discussing the impact and future of the internet [ https://youtu.be/jspXk0LjN_Y ].

Every technology or tool can be subverted, its about instilling values about the correct use and inappropriateness. As the pace of life ever quickens we need mechanisms to keep pace, young people know far more than previous generations and the online world such as utilising YouTube to self-study supports this on-going trend. The fact that online will never go away, far from it, it will continually evolve and we need to develop support mechanisms that evolve alongside.

We have heard a number of comments regarding cyber-bullying or trolling and I wonder what you think of the article http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-33690326 ? A blessing for those making a genuine mistake in the online world at a young age, or a license to not consider wider implications? I would be very interested when the publish the report at the end of the year.

The later part of this weeks session looked at safe environments (club penguin, moshi monsters and habbo) and the use of avatars.

This week took about an 90 minutes.

Andy

Childhood in the Digital Age – Week 1

10903854_10152980488766064_3186461008076560286_o

 

This week I completed the first week of the the Childhood in the Digital Age FutureLearn online course. This week set the scene looking at the risks versus the  opportunities and the disproportion between the two. Both sides of the argument were explored and  the chasm of drama or risky opportunities highlighted. The three hour course took me 90 minutes, and that included looking at all the media and reviewing the forums. I am looking forward to next weeks sessions, especially after no homework other than thought provoking reflections.

 

Andy

Visual Thinkery

formative-vs-summative

Recently at the eFair2015 (see recent posts) I had one of those further turns of fate that just seem to converge recent events. Enter in one Bryan Mathers at his Visual Thinkery website at http://bryanmmathers.com/ . Here was someone obviously loving what they were doing, which are multifaceted, one being taking thoughts and phrases and marrying them up with visual representations – hold the phone – is this guy doodling, and making an amazing job of it? you bet!

Bryan kindly allows use of his “thinkery” with attribution, my favourite being above. I am not the only one inspired I have come across at least two other blogs in the last few weeks that clearly have been inspired by Bryan’s visuals. I am not going to steal his thunder (not with my skills) but I am going to be further inspired that I can sketch and I certainly am going to use some of my own works of art in my teaching practice (and occasionally in a blog post).

A virtual sledgehammer has been taken to my own creative barrier (see last post)

 

Andy

 

Online Courses – Future Learn

Future Learn Logo

I have been meaning to start carrying out some online learning courses for a number of reasons:

  • Curiosity
  • Good practice
  • Up-skilling

I intend to look at not only a range of subjects (related to tech and my role) but from differing vendors. Currently I have only carried out small online courses that have lacked depth and structure – in fact they have been able to be carried out in a few hours – with the eception of a 5 week 15 hr course by Pivital Education, this was delivered on the Canvas VLE platform. I loved the ability to post experiences to each weekly forum and read the experiences of others (something that lacked in the smaller courses).

So having looked around I am starting this week with Future Learn and a 4 week (3hrs/wk) course on childhood in the digital age, why not join me? https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/childhood-in-the-digital-age  it started this week.

 

Andy

Barriers to Learning (My Own)

IMG_0735

 

I don’t consider myself a poor student, I have more qualifications than I can shake a stick at, some things I have had to do for my career but in the most they have been personal interests. My eldest has just recently left reception and this year has been a journey for both of us. He did not just play educational games and get to grips with school life, as I wrongly assumed, he learnt to read and interact with his peers. But I want to play my part as much as I can and realised fairly quickly that he had some barriers that needed to be overcame for various reasons:

  • He either did or didn’t, often saying he could not do something
  • Getting frustrated when he couldn’t
  • getting bored with the repetitiveness of some activities

This got me thinking on how I could support the little one…

  • Yes he could not do some things – Yet! I have made sure I have highlighted this
  • He may get frustrated on not doing the whole thing – focus on the intervals, the small steps, the progression
  • Mix it up, change the activities but retain the focus and outcomes

Basic stuff I know, but it came with the revelation that I haver the same issues as an adult… I cannot draw. The comment is designed to convince myself that I cannot so what is the point. It is defeatist.

  • I can draw, maybe not very well, but I can hold a pen.
  • I don’t practice enough.
  • I hold myself up to others standards (way beyond my own)

So I started to watch a few YouTube videos, nothing heavy, just short instructional clips.  Reminding me of the skills I used to have in art classes in school (perspective, shading, etc). I am still rubbish, I am never going to take it up as a serious hobby (yet!) but I can throw together some sketches and doodlings (they should not call it art or drawing but doodling, I can do that very well).  I though I would demo one of my recent sketches in this post (plus there is one in the the earlier “Heron’s Six Categories of Intervention” and “Moving towards FELTAGS 50%” posts)

Andy

Active Presenter

logo

I have used this software for awhile now and it has recently gone through a major upgrade, developed by atomi systems, Active Presenter allows for automated annotation of desktop activities. However the software is so much more than first glance, costing relatively little, it is a low cost solution alternative to adobe captivate. It allows for the following of any presentation captured in a range of formats inclufing video, PDF, word, PowerPoint and HTML 5:

  • Editing
  • demonstration (watch)
  • tutorial (interact, with guiodance)
  • practice (interact, without guidance, numerous times with metrics)
  • test (interact, without guidance,  once with metrics)
  • SCORM compliant – pass metrics onto Virtual Learning Platform or other SCORM compliant systems

What really impresses me about active presenter is that with it’s recent 5.0 it allows for a range of interactions:

  1. mouse clicks
  2. key strokes
  3. text area
  4. mouse over
  5. drop area
  6. question sets…
    • true/false
    • multiple choice
    • multiple respinse
    • essay
    • fill in blank
    • fill in multiple blanks
    • sequence
    • drag ‘n’ drop

You can download the software for free, paying the minimal licensing costs removes the watermark from the top right corner (video’s lacking interaction do not have a watermark). An educational license is approximately £65

Review the versatility the software allows for at their Demo section.

 

 

Andy