All posts by Dale Mills

Resizing Images

When you download an image from your camera to your computer, chances are the file size will range from 3MB to 10MB+. They also have a huge resolution, well beyond what is needed for the blogs or using on the school computers. The large photo size will cause the network to run slow if you are using them as a whole class. When blogging, the file size limit on the blog is 5MB.

There is a handy tool you can use however to resize your images as a batch in Windows. It is, funnily enough, called Image Resizer. You can download it here: http://imageresizer.codeplex.com/.

When you have downloaded the program and installed it, it adds an option to the menu when you right click on a photo, like the one below.

You can select multiple photos at the same time as well to resize, rather than just one.

When you’ve selected your photo or photos, click the option in the menu and a box like the one below will show up:

You can select which size you want your images to end up. The large option is more than sufficient for blogging or use at school. It will decrease file size from 5MB+ to about 250kb… about 20 times smaller!

When you have pressed resize, you will end up with the new resized files.

Use these files for uploading to the blog, or copying to the network, and you should find it a whole lot faster. It should also save you from running out of space on your blog!

Adding a ClustrMap

It’s great to see so many blogs up and running now across the school. So many of you have created posts and had students commenting on questions and what has been happening in the classroom. As we take small steps to grow our blogging knowledge, what might you do next?

One feature you may like to add to your blog is a ClustrMap.

What is a ClustrMap?

A ClustrMap is like a counter, that records the number of visitors to your blog and where they have come from. For example, here is the ClustrMap for our 56C blog last year.

On our blog, it appears as a widget in the sidebar like this. It shows the number of visitors to the blog as well.

Why would I want a ClustrMap?

There are many reasons why you might choose to install a ClustrMap on your blog. Some of these include:

  • See how many visitors are actually looking at your blog.
  • A point of discussion. Start the day or week looking at your blog (a great habit to get in to!) and seeing who has visited the blog. This also gets the students in the habit of looking at the blog and allows you to highlight what you have put online. It maintains their interest and excitement in the blog as something to check out at home too. Highlight comments they have posted the night before. Check out your map and see which countries have visited the blog. Identify the countries, continents and capital cities. If you haven’t got a visitor from a certain continent, why not find a class with a blog there and visit them – I am sure they will return the favour!
  • Maths discussion. Look at your visitor total and talk about how many visitors you have. What do the digits in the total represent. How many visitors do you need to reach 100? 1000? 5000? Predict where you will be tomorrow or at the end of the week. Great quick mental maths problems. Keep a track over a week and see what the difference is. (Thanks to Kathleen Morris’s post for ideas here)

How do I install a ClustrMap?

  1. Visit the ClustrMaps website: http://www.clustrmaps.com/
  2. In the ‘Create Yours’ box enter your blog’s URL (copy it from the address bar – it will be like http://sites.berwickfieldsps.vic.edu.au/6a2012.
  3. When you press submit you will be taken to an admin page. At the bottom of this page is a text box full of code (it says [A] Recommended Code].) Copy this code.
  4. Open your blog’s Dashboard. Go down to Appearance and click on ‘Widgets’.
  5. You will need to drag a ‘Text’ widget over to the side panel. See picture:


Paste the code you have copied into this text widget, like so:

Click save and then go to your blog. You should have a ClustrMap in your sidebar! Leave it a few days and watch the visitors start to roll in!
As always, if you need any assistance, just pop in and ask. Feel free to share below any questions, problems or ideas you find using the ClustrMap!

Create your own avatar!

An avatar is a visual representation of yourself online. For example, this is my avatar. I made it using the ‘Wimp Yourself’ website.

Creating your own avatar

Remember as we talked about in class, it is important that you own or have permission to post all the content you share on the blogs and online. Using an image of a company logo, famous footy player or games console is not your own work. You can use one of the websites below though to create your very own avatar, that really represents you. Pick one of the websites and then follow the instructions at the bottom to upload your avatar. A big thanks to Mr Baker who originally shared these websites.

Wimp Yourself

Create yourself as a character from the Diary of a Wimpy Kid stories.

Build Your Wild Self

Create yourself as an animal or character.


WiiMee

Want to look like a Wii character?


Lego Avatar

Turn yourself into a minifig from Lego!


Manga Maker

Is Manga your thing? Create yourself as a manga character!


Mess Dudes

Our last option is a to create yourself as a Mess Dude character!

 

How do I save my avatar?

Many of the sites above will not allow you to save your avatar without an account. But you do not need to create an account to save them. You can save your picture by using a tool on your computer known as ‘Print Screen’. Print Screen takes a photo of what ever is on your screen. To use it, just click the Print Screen button on your keyboard. It is in the top right hand corner. On a laptop, you may have to hold down ‘Fn’ (in the bottom left) at the same time as pressing ‘PrtSc’.

When you have printed the screen, it is copied to the clipboard. Open up Microsoft Paint and select ‘paste’. You can then get rid of the bits of the picture you do not want and save the image. Make sure you save it as a PNG or JPEG file.

How do I upload my avatar to my account?

Log in to your blogging account. Access your profile by clicking on your name in the top right corner and choosing ‘Edit My Profile’. When your profile loads, scroll down to the bottom of the page til you see the avatar section:

Click the ‘Choose File’ button and find where you saved your avatar. When you have selected it, click the blue ‘Update Profile’ button. All done!

If you need help with making your avatar, see Mr Mills.