Even more cool stuff from Microsoft.

New Folder_AutoCollage_11_Images One of the great things about my job, and I can assure you there are many, is that I get to see the latest technology as it emerges. Although a lot of the latest developments go straight over my head, it’s those that I can instantly see a use for in the classroom that I get excited about (I should get out more shouldn’t I?). This week, whilst looking for resources to support using Virtual Earth in the classroom, (I will let you know more about that in a future post and on the Innovative Teachers Network) I discovered the applications described below. I think these are examples of ways that technology can really enhance teaching and learning.

Auto Collage 2008 is a simple program that does some complicated stuff with images. It automatically creates photo montages from a folder of images. The way it does this is based on face recognition technology, and the results are impressive. This is an ideal application for students and teachers to use to create montages of events or field trips. Even better, it could simplify the time consuming process of producing end-of-year books. If you have any other ideas about how you might use this application, then let us know, if would be great to hear from you. You can see a demo and download a trial version here. It is well worth a look.

Deep Zoom for those who have seen its use at the Hard Rock Cafe site. Then you will know that Deep Zoom is a Silver light* application that allows you to display and explore large or Hi-resolution images, without the problem of slow downloads and fuzzy images. You can check it out in more detail  here. But what is great about this is you can download a Deep Zoom Composer? This allows your students to create their own Deep Zoom montages from a collection of images. Although the higher the resolution, the better the results, you can still get decent results from an everyday digital camera. Creating a Deep Zoom montage is really easy, its just a process of selecting the images and dragging them into place. The Deep Zoom Composer does the rest. Students could use this to create their own e-portfolio of objects and memorabilia, which would be a really cool way of presenting an art project of sculpture or 3D design. It also makes a great way to visually tell stories or capture events. This is something that will really inspire your students and I guarantee, yourselves. Inspired like me, I’m off to catalogue the objects of our local Greasy Spoon Cafe, not quite the Hard Rock Cafe, I just fancy deep zooming a bacon sandwich!


image And finally…… This is called Touchless and I have no idea what to do with this, yet! it is such a new concept that only this demo exists. But with all these developments around touch technology such as Surface, could this be an indication of how we might be using whiteboards in the future? All you need is a simple webcam to capture objects that you can use to interact with a computer. There is enough in this demo to get your students excited about the potential use of this technology and if you or your students are capable programmers, then you could create some potentially ground breaking activities. Download it here

If you have any ideas about how you are using technology in the classroom and you would like to share them, join the Innovative Teachers Network

*Silverlight is a free cross-platform plug-in, that allows Silverlight applications to work in a web browser.

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