Converting Flash Animations with Swiffy

Earlier in my teaching career, I experimented with using Flash to create animations for my students. Now that I’m an avid iOS user, I’ve given up on that platform. I have hours invested into projects that I can’t run on my phone or iPad, but fortunately Google has created a utility named Swiffy that will convert .swf files into html5 and javascript that will run in modern web browsers. Below are two projects I originally created in 2004 that I just converted using Swiffy.

Title screen of the Bering Land Bridge Theory animation
Click image to play the Bering Land Bridge Theory animation.


Title page for the Triangular Trade animation
Click image to play the interactive Triangular Trade animation.

When Technology Gets Out of the Way…

I love this new iPad 2 commercial. From my experience with iPods in the classroom, getting technology out of the way increases time on educational tasks. My students don’t spend ten minutes watching the computers login, then another 30 seconds for an application to launch. Instead, they get right to work with a device that is barely noticeable in a room full of learning.

Passing the Laura Ingalls Test

Writing for, Linda Perlstein recently proposed the Laura Ingalls test. Imagine if this prairie girl were to time travel to the present day and consider how she would respond to modern-day technology. If you brought her to an Apple Store or handed her a cell phone, she wouldn’t know what to make of it. Yet, if you brought her to the nearest 5th grade classroom, she would immediately recognize it as a school, something nearly unchanged from her time. Perlstein then asks her readers to describe the ideal modern-day classroom. Their ideas are recorded as comments to her post.

Continue reading “Passing the Laura Ingalls Test”

Labeling iPods

For our first day of winter vacation, my wife and I spent some time in my classroom bar-coding and labeling my iPods. We also labeled each slot in the cart.

That process went fairly quickly, but I also wanted to upgrade all of the iPods to iOS 4.2.1. That took much more time because I could only do one device at a time. However, by following these directions from Fraser Speirs on how to save the update file locally, I saved close to 10 minutes each device.

Photo of my iPods in the drawer of my Bretford Cart

Close-up photo of my drawer with labels.

iPods Unboxed

With the help of my super-supportive wife, we managed to finally get the first set of 20 iPods unboxed and into Cart2D2 for charging. I love the look of the LED lights in the drawer while charging.

Photo of my iPods finally placed into my Bretford cart

On the other hand, the look of 20 devices in iTunes for syncing is a little intimidating. I’m not looking forward to upgrading 20 devices to iOS 4.2.

Screenshot of 20 iPods syncing in iTunes

Great Cyber Monday Deal!

I just purchased cases for my iPod Touches thanks to this tip from OS X Daily. This premium black soft gel silicone skin case normally sells for $29.99 but is currently listed at $2.39. I’m a littler worried that the Amazon reviews are so divided. It has roughly the same number of 5 star and 1 star reviews so people must either love it or hate it. Still, this find is a relief because I was starting to worry I wouldn’t find cases in my price range.