Category: Schools

Feb 27 2011

Making bedtime stories accessible to deaf children

We have previously talked about using a PSP and semacodes to make a text book a multimedia experience. Using the same principles Longwill School, Birmingham, have been making bedtime stories accessible to deaf children. The teachers film themselves signing each page of the book. Each clip is then assigned a semacode using Second Sight Content Creation Suite such that when the PSP camera is directed at the semacode the appropriate signing is triggered.

The children borrow the bedtime story books from the school library along with the memory stick on which the clips have been copied and also a Second Sight application UMD.

The following is a short clip showing the experience the children get.

Oct 15 2010

Turning Text Book Into a Multi Media Experience


Books remain the information tool of choice in most schools. The benefits are tried and tested however in the multi-media rich environment in which we now live, work and learn augmenting the written word is key to leveraging 21st Century Learning.

High-quality multi-media educational resources can now be readily found online. Cheap and effective video and audio recording technology provides the means by which educators can create their own learning resources.

Devices such as iPods, smart phones and some handheld games consuls are capable of playing multi-media assets.

By combining such devices with appropriate multi-media learning resources and text books, educators can create an engaging, effective and efficient learning environment exploiting technologies that many young people already have in their possession and confident in their use.

An Example

Dorling Kindersley Space Encyclopedia

This is an excellent example of a well written, superbly illustrated text, serving as a perfect introductory reference for anyone interested in finding out about space.

There are many space related websites with supered video, audio and images available for free download. NASA and the European Space Agency are a couple that were used for this project.

The concept was to find resources that would complement the text and illustrations, and then to use a technology which would trigger the playing of the resources when needed and with minimum intervention by the reader. This aspect is regarded as a key concept, the continuity of the learning experience is very important, stopping to search for a relevant file can be very disruptive to the learning process.



The project uses PlayStation portable running Second Sight application to trigger the playing of multi-media resources. Using the PSP camera to identify black and

white markers called semacodes the application recognises a specific pattern and plays the associated resource. The association between a specific semacode and a particular resource can be defined by the user and is created in a partner application called Content Creation Suite.


Appropriate assets were downloaded from the Web.
If files were not in the appropriate format, MP3 for audio, JPEG for images and MP4 for video, then they were convertedĀ using the free application, Media Coder.
Using Content Creation Suite the various assets were associated with a specific semacode pattern.
The resources and the configuration files were then uploaded to the PSP memory stick from within the Content Creation Suite application.
Semacode patterns in the form of jpegs were printed onto 24mm circular sticky labels using a Brother QL-560 label printer.
The labels were then stuck in the appropriate locations in the text. Care was taken to make sure this was done accurately as the semacodes are very similar.
The text is now available as a truly multi-media experience.

Example of Saturn 5 Page

Oct 15 2010

PSP signing bedtime stories for young children!

9 out of 10 deaf children are born to hearing parents. The children, even from the very youngest ages, quickly become proficient in signing thanks to the fantastic work by teachers of the deaf. Unfortunately parents do not always get the intensive exposure to signing and their ability to communicate even with their own children can be limited. Telling of bedtimes stories, which can be key in developing the relationship between child and parent, can be very difficult with limited communication skills.

Longwill school for the Deaf, in partnership with ourselves have developed an innovative approach to solving the problem.

All students at Longwill have PSPs by combining these with an application called Second Sight a child can trigger the playing video of the a page’s text being signed. The system uses a system of Semacodes, a pattern of black and white squares which, when the application is running on the PSP, triggers the playing of a specific video. Different patterns trigger different videos. What pattern goes with what video is determined by the teacher using a PC program, Content Creation Suite, part of the Second Sight application. The child has complete control, there is no having to search for the correct file to play, the user can play the video over and over again with an almost instant triggering of the video.

Here is a link to a short video which will give you some idea of what it look like.

In this case a video is triggered but the application can trigger audio and still images as well.
Take at the look at the post Dorling Kindersley, Multimedia Text Book

Aug 08 2010

International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference 2010

TheĀ International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) is a nonprofit membership association providing leadership and service to improve education through the effective use of technology.
ISTE 2010
We were privilege to be able to present a 3 hour workshop at the ISTE 2010 conference. Having been fortunate enough to have attended many educational conferences my impression of ISTE is that this is the conference to participate in. 12,000 delegates, hundreds of exhibitors, keynotes, workshops, special interest groups, breakout meetings and round table activities are just some of the features of the three day conference. Many of the delegates were from the US however like us there were many international delegates.
Many contacts were made, an information shared, we will be covering some of the developments from these in later posts.
For those that are interested in following up and perhaps attending follow this link to the 2011 conference:
Our workshop included the work we have been doing using Playstation portables in education and also some an introduction to iPods in education.
Our presentation is included with this post and can also be found on slide share.
Aug 03 2010

Flipside game from the Institution of Engineering and Technology

Take a look, it is about combining gears to about movement in the correct direction. It does get a little complicated, I have yet to get to the end of the game. Would this kind of game be useful in the classroom? What do you think? Leave a comment!

Aug 02 2010

Research document, Games bases leaning – Horizon Report

Interesting and informative looking at games based learning:

Aug 01 2010

Yet another example of AR to sell stuff.

As we have already mentioned in previous posts augmented reality is being used more and more by companies to create a more enjoyable and informative experience for consumers. This is another example that I noticed in a magazine. Looking for a new watch, not sure what it is going to look like on your wrist! What about trying on the same watch with different colour straps, that is if the shop has them! Well now using AR you can, provided you are looking for a Tissot watch. Check out There are two downloads that you will need, firstly the app which is available for Mac and PC and a PDF of a watch shape which you can cut out and put on your wrist, the key is that the paper watch includes an AR marker.

Run the app, you will need a webcam, select the watch you like the look of, and then point the camera at your marker adorned wrist. There you go that is what it is going to look like on your wrist and lots of information about the key features of the watch.

There are instructions and a helpful video, if you need some more help.

The benefits for both seller and customer are clear to see, AR greatly enhances the experience. How can we use this technology to make the learning experience more informative and engaging? Teachers are starting to explore the potential of AR in their classrooms, we will posting examples in future blogs.

Jul 31 2010

Demonstration of Augmented Reality at Lego

Augmented reality is coming under a lot of scrutiny by educators. There is a “get” feeling that this technology has real potential in learning, it can facilitate the creation engaging learning environments and also enhance the learning experience.

AR is being used to market products creating a new experience for customers. Here is an example we filmed at the lego store in Downtown Disney, Orlando. And yes we did buy the Lego Space Shuttle.

AR will be regularly featured on Learn Extreme.


Apr 22 2010

Example of Auguemented Reality – Telus, Canada

Augmented reality, the combining of real time video with a computer overlay, data, images, video, is an emerging technology that we think has real potential in enhancing learning experiences. This is a technology that is in its early development and many examples we have seen have been used for promotion.

This example we found on a Telus stand, Telus is a Canadian telecoms company. We have also seen a really good example developed by Lego so prospective purchasers can see what the finished article will look like when all those bricks are put together!

Second Sight is the first educational based example we have seen and will will be including posts and links about AR in education in the future.

Telus example of AR

Connected Education and using Second Sight on the PSP an AR applications.

Apr 18 2010

Self Review Framework

UK schools looking to audit their use of ICT to enhance teaching and learning, improve learning outcomes and to engage students should take a look at the BECTA Self Review Framework at

The is no charge to sign up to the process which is the first good point. The framework is splits the whole school use of ICT into 8 elements. Elements are then split in strands. Schools complete the first stage of the process by making judgments about where its stands on a number of statements. For example “our vision of ICT…” is clearly expressed. There is then a spectrum of responses ranging from “not at all” to “very well”

After completing each element schools are provided with a summative statement about the schools use of ICT and a comparison to similar schools. Providing evidence for judgments is also a key part of the process.

By engaging with the process schools can get recognition for their commitment to ICT and work towards gaining the ICT mark. Schools should take a look at the BECTA Next Generation Learning Charter at

We will return to Self Review Framework in the future including who schools can get help with the process and additional links.

In the meantime this is a short Prezi presentation we put together for marketing SRF at a Headteachers conference enjoy, and please comment, constructive ones work best!

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