Blogging

Introduction: What is a Blog?

  • A blog (weblog) is a special type of website that displays entries or posts in reverse chronological order. The most recently written post appears at the top. The posts themselves consist of text, images, links to other websites and also, a way for readers to leave comments about the post.
  • Blogs can function as online diaries, soap boxes, journalistic ventures or internet scrapbooks. They can cover any number of subjects from pop culture to politics, to what you had for lunch yesterday. All you need to start blogging is an email address and something to say. There’s more than one free blogging service that you can use. For this exercise we will be using the free www.wordpress.com and your school email address.
  • When you register the wordpress blog, you MUST sign up with your school login name as your username, and your school network password. Speak to the teacher if this presents any problems.

Step 2: Name Your Blog

  • There’s no limit to what you can name your blog. Some blogs have names that relate to their subject matter – some blogs have completely nonsensical names that are just catchy. The easiest way may be to name your blog after yourself. Take care not to reveal your full name in the blog domain name or title. Students should sign up to WordPress using the formula we use for all Web 2.0 logins: first name, followed by at least one initial of your surname, followed by your age, e.g. www.jamieb12.wordpress.com.
  • A blog’s name should ideally be memorable, short, easy to spell and free of hyphens. Please remember to type up your blog URL, your username and your password in the document we created for this purpose.

Checking Your Name’s Availability

  • Technically, you can name your blog whatever you’d like. However, there are limits to what your blog’s URL or web address can be.
  • As we will be using a hosted blog service called WordPress.com for your blogs, you are assigned a web address, which will look like this: www.yourblogname.wordpress.com
  • You need to check your potential blog name’s availability when you sign up for an account.

Step 3: Confirm your Account Registration

  • Click through to your blog from the confirmation email you receive from WordPress.
  • Insert your username and password to login. Once you have logged in, a DASHBOARD appears. We will save the full blog URL in the Google document set up to capture student web URL’s.

Step 4: Change your blog’s appearance

  • Add a theme.
  • One or two columns or sidebars.
  • Widgets
  • Custom banner.

Step 5: Write your first post

Define Your Subject Matter

  • Before you write a blog post, it is important to plan or prepare what you are going to write about.
  • For this section of work, your blog title will be, ‘How I will spend £1000.’ As a start, it is probably a good idea to write out a list of the items you wish to purchase. You must include a minimum of 10 items on your list.
  • This link to a teacher’s Christmas list will give an example of what your blog post title and entry should look like in terms of layout.
  • You must include:

a) The Title of the Post (as given above). b) A sub-heading for each item on the list. c) A description of every item on the list. d) An image for every item. You need to ensure that the image is clear, cropped correctly and not pixilated.

Help videos are available here: Blogging Help.

More help:

A helpful presentation on adding images to your wordpress blog also has good instructions which can help with the general working of your blog posts. Slideshare also has several good guides; ‘How to set up your own blog using wordpress’ (low quality visuals but good instructions) and WordPress for Dummies –  how to set up your first blog. As we’re using wordpress.com and not .org, (a self-hosted blog) the first four slides are not relevant to us.

Once you are ready to insert widgets, there is a help guide here. You can also work ahead and follow the instructions for the next lesson (on widgets).

Please insert your URLs here.

Credits: Doug Belshaw (E-Learning Co-Ordinator), New Media Drivers License Michigan State University, Alan Carr, Mrs Krummel. Image sourced from Creative Commons.  

Olympics project

We’re going to begin a project which will include us using a brand new presentation tool – PREZI. All the links that students need to start the project are below. Listen carefully when we discuss them in class. Click on this URL.  http://www.3x3links.com/olympicsproject2012

Project:

1. Click on the link called, “Lesson Project Microsoft”.  Find the document to the right of the page entitled, “Olympic Games student handout“. Save and then Open this Word document. The outline of your project is here. HOWEVER, instead of presenting the work in a Publisher leaflet, we will be using PREZI for the end publication.

2. Click on the link to “Create your mascot”. You need to create a mascot who will serve as a narrator for your project. Use the link to “create your mascot”  This should then be saved as a screen shot in MS Word. We will learn how to crop an image in Photoshop. (A help video is included in the links.)

3. Click on the following links:

  • Olympic Games History
  • Olympic Sports

Choose a city where the games were previously held AND a single sport to write about. The ‘Information Ideas’ with the questions is where you fill in the answers (on the Word document) once you’ve completed your research. This is simply rough work, or preparation for the content of your publication.  The project must include sufficient text and images to cover the suggested ideas.

4. There is a link to a PDF “how to” for PREZI as well as a link to a video on how to use PREZI. There are only slight differences to the interface as PREZI has been updated recently. Do not be afraid to explore the application.

5. Extension tasks will include creating your own Olympic logo in Photoshop and completing the online Olympics quizzes.

Have fun!

More Photoshop work

This week,we’re going to continue with Photoshop, working with LAYERS, the MAGIC WAND TOOL and OPACITY to create some exciting and interesting images.

1. Make a realistic looking digital tattoo. Follow these instructions.

2. Make a collage for the Queens Diamond Jubilee. Use all of the tools you have become familiar with in Photoshop and review all of the collages below, then create your own!

Graphic manipulation: Photoshop

We’ll be working with Adobe Photoshop this week.

1. Students should use the Internet to search for an image entitled, ‘red eye’ and then experiment with the tools to remove the Red Eyes.
2. Find a ‘rough’ looking face. Experiment with the Blemish tool and Airbrush Tools.
3. We’ll be working with several of the tutorials on Vimeo by Andrew Way:

  • Tutorial 1: using layers/magic wand tool/combining two images/the transform tool and scaling.

Tutorial 1 Tips:

a) For this tutorial you need to arrange the images. Do this by choosing Window > Arrange and then: Float All in Window – this allows the images to float freely.
b) Choose an image to use with the Magic Wand which has a very uncomplicated background. (Mostly white.)
c) You must select the LAYER you wish to use with the Magic Wand tool.
d) You can make the Magic Wand tool appear if you select SHIFT + W.
e) You must save the image as a Photoshop file as in the video.

  • Tutorial 2: Using layer masks/airbrush tool/adding and editing type (text)/using layer styles.
Tutorial 2 Tips:
a) Take care that you select the correct LAYER to work with.
b) To remove the object from the image select: Layer > Layer Mask > Hide All.
c) Choose the  brush tool (from the side tool bar) then the airbrush tool. (You may have to choose this tool from the drop down options.)
d) Do not be concerned about the image turning red when you airbrush it. This is only highlighting the area to airbrush.
e) You might wish to refer back to the earlier activity on Air Brushing for more help.

4. Students should try and create a LIGHT SABER following the instructions in the video. Click on the image below.

Image sourced from premierglow.com

Crazy Talk

For the next few weeks we’ll complete a short CrazyTalk project. CrazyTalk is an animation tool for creating talking characters. Students can use an imported image (one of your own) or one of the samples from the CrazyTalk models and make them “speak”. Take a look at these videos to see what you can do. (You should watch these at home) They are of an animated dog and cat. A full list of tutorials, both in online video and illustrative documents are available from Reallusion. These are useful if we don’t want to access YouTube. (TIP: Start from the bottom of the list.)

We will be using CrazyTalk 5 which is a slightly older version of the current one. A big plus is that students can download a free trial of the latest application, or an older version from Reallusion to use at home if they wish. This should enable you to experiment on your own. Of course students should always be wary of downloading software, but CNET has a good reputation. Always ensure that your computer system is compatible with the requirements of the product.
 Lesson One
1. Open up the CrazyTalk application once you’ve logged on.
2. Navigate to the internet and search for a full face image. Save this. (It would be better if this had a closed mouth.)
3. Follow the instructions from ” Basic Face Fitting” from Step 1 to 9.
4. Then add “Natural Eyes and Teeth“.
5. Finally complete the “Face profile and Stand-By Motion” tutorial.
6. Experiment!
Remember:
a) That video help is available from the Reallusion website on EACH of the tutorials.
b) That you should add your original imported image to the “Custom” window for models.
c) Save your work as a “Project”. You can overwrite this each time you add something new.
Extension: Why not animate a hamburger? Follow these instructions.
Lesson Two
1. Follow the steps from “Handling the Background Image” in order to learn how to customise a background. You might wish to search for an image to use as a background first. N.B. This tutorial is not as easy as it looks!
2. To add speech to your animation you need to click on the SCRIPT option in CrazyTalk. It is quite fun to have your model talk like some of the different suggested options in the template window. The tutorial for speech is rather in depth. We only need to worry about Step 6 from the “Timeline and Emotion Library” at this stage. Students can add custom sound to their models at a later stage. 

 


 

 

Lesson Three
 Spend some time during this lesson on finalising the project. Make sure that it has all the elements you want.

Your next step is to describe your 3 best projects and pass the Peer Review Sheet to a class mate who will be reviewing your work. Once this is complete – hand the sheet to Mrs Turner.

Acknowledgements to Claire Barnes and her notes from Willow Dene School. 

 

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