Tuesday, February 02, 2010
  Poetry 2.0 ?

NZ Book Council - Going West

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Friday, May 29, 2009
  Screencasting for free
Any excuse to avoid marking ;) I'll tell you about screencasting for free. I've been using the brilliant Camtasia for a couple of years, and it does everything I want brilliantly, but some of my colleagues want to start, and a site licence would cost an arm and a leg [Just joking, but it will cost more than this year's budget would allow.] No worries two downloads and they can be screencasting, if not like professionals, at least easily and effectively!

Here's one I prepared earlier:

The two tools I used to make it are (excluding Firefox):
  • Capture Fox the screencasting add on for Firefox
  • Miksoft's Mobile Media Converter "free fast and easy" it converts most audio formats and many video formats into many others, for this job it will render the big fat AVI file Capture Fox produces as small lean MP4 or WMV video
My more usual use for the brilliant little converter is to code MP3 files of classes into AMR files that are only 20% of the size so that students on dialup can download a whole hour's class. Incidentally the video above (uploaded to one of the best video sharing sites and one which does not claim unnecessary rights to your work - as YouTube does) was under 2MB for 1.5 minutes!

PS: As anonymous comments below there is a Beta version available here which compresses the AVI file better. Using Miksoft's converter will still give much smaller file sizes, but for people who don't like technology the new version would make it a one step process instead of two. And probably many of you have less students on dialup still or poor "broadband" than we have in NZ ;) So a great tool is getting better.

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Thursday, March 12, 2009
Mary pointed me to this inspiring video:

It reminds me why Illich is so important, still. We (meaning teachers) get so caught up in the technology of teaching (meaning not equipment, but learning outcomes, clear syllabuses, marking criteria and the rest of the techniques which we are told will make or teaching better - or at least better fitted to the educational system of which we are a part).

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Tuesday, February 03, 2009
  What makes Biblical Studies anti-social?
Jane Hart's weekly list of interesting educational links mentioned Academic Earth an organization founded to give everyone on earth access to a world class education.  It has thousands of video lectures from the world's top scholars. It looks a brilliant resource. The front page includes lecture series from Princetown, MIT and Yale (OK so it is Americano-centric) cool!

The "Subjects" tab lists: Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Economics, Engineering, English, Entrepreneurship, History, Law, Mathematics, Medicine, Philosophy, Physics, Political Science, Psychology and Religion so there's something for everyone!


The only entry under "Religion" is Christine Hayes fine series Introduction to the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible). And we already know about those lectures... where are all the other Biblical Scholars? What makes Biblical Studies so ungenerous, so unwilling to share?

If your institution has a less "dog in the manger" attitude to teaching about the Bible than my employers do please go to the page about partnering with Academic Earth, you may earn no cash, but you might raise your reputation and assist people with fewer resources...

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Monday, October 20, 2008
  PodBible promo
Having seen David's promo video I've been playing with Animoto. Since in email conversation with David we determined that I have an unusually short attention span here first is the quiet slow version...

To put this video on your webpage or blog use this code:

<script type="text/javascript" src=""></script>

The photos are all from Flickr with CC licenses, here are the credits:

Photos by freecultureNYU, biblicone, kretyen, Edward B.,, terren in Virginia, Alan Joyce, liewcf, GeoWombats, Wonderlane, knowhimonline, the bright and morning star, nexus6

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Wednesday, October 08, 2008
  PopeBible II: .con
Below Richard, offers a clarification on what I'm calling the "real PopeBible".
Only the first and last hour of the marathon are on the normal TV channel of the state broadcaster. The rest is on one of the broadcaster's satellite channels, so not very accessible to Italians (although it can be watched live on Internet as well). This created quite a few complaints from Italians - I have had more comments on this fact than on any other on my blog. I don't believe there are only plans to distribute the video after the event. By the way, most of the readers are not celebrities, but "normal" people that signed up to read a chapter.
To me this just indicates the failure of traditional models of distribution to get to grips with the possibilities of electronic media.
Photo by sean dreilinger
forget baby photos in the wallet,
they've got kid videos on their cell phones
You have a great chance to distribute the Bible more widely and to engage more people in listening to the Bible, so what do you do? Lock it up so people have to pay for it - reducing the potential audience to a small fraction!

The failure is driven by the need to be commercial, and only advertising and porn make money on the Internet. With a different model - in this case one that the Bible societies (I include many organisations with somewhat different names under this blanket heading hence the small S) have been doing for years - you could harness the possibilities of the electronic medium and maximise distribution. Set the Bible free and unexpected people will hear... and hearing they might understand.

But how can they hear if the message is hidden away! "Broadcast" on a cable channel, or sold on DVDs is very narrow casting indeed ;) And in the world of Bible distribution, that is a con. People donate money to Bible societies to distribute the Bible, the means are available to do this almost infinitely more widely and freely than ever before. All that is needed is imagination and the willingness to take a small risk. Nike have the right slogan, just do it! Video a score of NZ celebrities reading Mark's gospel as a serial story, then set the video free, you can even sell DVDs to recoup some of the costs, and watch the fun!

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Tuesday, October 07, 2008
Photo from CNN
Have you seen this? Pope begins Bible-reading marathon

What a neat way to use the pope's star status!

I could not help wondering what would happen if BibleSoc and the Scripture Union's Christians in sport group (and a few others) got together and got NZ celebrities to read a gospel. It might not get on free to air TV here, but it could be cheap (by TV standards) to make, at least if the celebs volunteered their time. It could also go on DVD and YouTube so get wide distribution. Even with some imagination, become a serial story, stopping at exciting places and distributed by mobile phone as well as the other routes.

What a way to get Kiwis in touch with the Bible! And the cumulative impact of a whole bunch of celebs could really help make faith cool. Each of them would only have to give an hour or so of their time...

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Thursday, September 11, 2008
  Mixed emotions?
Do watch this video. Does it make you laugh? Did it make you cry? How do you respond to something like this?

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Saturday, August 23, 2008
  Comparing free video sharing services
Here is the same video uploaded to two different video sharing services:

I wonder if your impressions of the two services match mine?
BTW in both cases the default settings were used. Otherwise I'd have "shrunk" the Blip version ;)

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008
  Why free is useless for significant ongoing work
There are a host of wonderful, inspiring and exciting free services available currently. Ranging from video sharing to file format converting, with mindmapping and other tasks in between. If you want an electronic service, the chances are someone out there is offering it for free.

This is great fun, and is driving a burst of creativity and colaboration. This easy availability of great free services is in large part responsible for the hype over Web 2.0 (which somehow refuses to fade quietly into the background like other twee slogans - but is rather perhaps being mainstreamed ;)

Yet there are feet of clay to all this. In the 1990s many of us started our first websites on "free" hosts like Geocities, but soon moved on to paying hosts. In that case it was advertising that caused many of us to move. Other were driven by restrictive policies or lack of space. Something similar could happen to the current crop of great "free" services.

As GOS the "Unofficial news and tips about Google" blog recently noted in a post about Google Page Creator closing:
This year, Google discontinued a lot of services: Browser Sync, Hello, Send to SMS and Send to Phone extension.
So, how safe are free services? The provider can drop or change them at any time. Don't rely on them! Use a free online file conversion tool, if you need to convert a few files in a hurry, but not if you convert files regularly. Use a free video sharing tool, to share video freely ( seems the best at hosting, but YouTube draws more of an audience) but if reliability matters to you, do make sure you have a backup plan!

Free is fun, but it is also vulnerable. Google is great - as a search engine (though even there one shudders to recognise the power they wield) but not to be trusted with your website!

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Friday, July 25, 2008
  Graphics programs again
I posted the other day about Gimp (which I was using because my Fireworks install CD is stuffed) in the comments friends helped me sort out the minor gripes I had with Gimp, the current version is nothing short of brilliant.

Stephen also commented:
For quick and dirty format conversions, resizing and cropping I use IrfanView. Does the trick for most simple tasks and is quick to start up.
IrfanView is also brilliant, a fast viewer that also does many of the most commonly needed editing tasks. I have not yet tried out any of the plugins, so up to now I cannot comment on video in IrfanView, but for graphics it is great!

If anyone has tried the video plugins please comment about how well they work - is this program a substitute for Windows Media Player as well?

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Monday, July 07, 2008
  Society for Biblical Literature International: Powhiri
SBL International has begun. The first papers are not due for another half hour, but the conference began yesterday with a powhiri (Māori welcome ceremony) and a reception. For the SBL International in Auckland, the challenge was "Kamate Kamate" somewhat oddly since this haka was judged too bloodthirsty for international rugby matches (ka mate means death!) - apparently International Rugby is wimpy compared to International Biblical Scholars ;-)

It was great to begin this first ever SBL in New Zealand in a culturally appropriate way with the visitors being welcomed to the University Marae, to the University and to the country. As so often though my delight in powwhiri was tinged with saddness, of only Māori custom could unbend enough to produce a geniuinely bicultural powhiri one for example in which the speeches were tailored to the presence of 90% of the participants who are not fluent in Te Reo (the Māori language) so shorter and accompanied by brief summary statements in English (like subtitles) so that the 90% could understand and appreciate the ceremony. Such a powhiri if regularly adopted for bicultural occasions, would I suspect take NZ by storm and become the only appropriate way to formally welcome visitors. Instead too often what we have is a mere cultural show - which ends up turning Māori into museum exhibits, rather than partners in a bicultural society.

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Thursday, June 26, 2008
  Help, I need someone to suggest a film
I am teaching Genesis again this year, after several years break. I want to start by explaining why Genesis matters, and would really like a short film clip that illustrates how knowing the beginning of a story helps us to understand the rest. So I'm thinking a film where some vital item of information is shown right at the start, and if you "came in late" and missed it you would also miss much of what is going on in the film...

Do you have any suggestions?


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Monday, June 09, 2008
  The Tale of Ginger and Pickles
We had a long weekend recently - to celebrate the Queen's Birthday, so I celebrated by getting some more Beatrix Potter stories ready to narrate. The first of this Royal Birthday collection is available on YouTube and the Internet Archive. If you have small kids around you have a good excuse to watch it - if you don't, enjoy anyway!

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Saturday, May 31, 2008
  Performance as assessment: synthesis and Biblical exegesis
Geoff at Theologians without Borders asked for examples of Creativity in Theological Education for my contribution I've presented an assignment I regularly use which asks students to "perform" the text, they are then marked on a "justification" they write which explains the performance's origin in the biblical text, i.e. what about the text caused them to perform it this way and how their performance communicates important features of the text to their audience. You can read the write up here. Or just enjoy the two sample performances (because of a technical hitch I don't have time to fix before going away for a long weekend (thank you Mrs Queen for having a birthday ;) one is displayed here the other requires you to click a link:

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Friday, May 23, 2008
  Have I been gender blended?
My video sermon (from the college DVD Church Then and Now) is causing me some gender confusion. First there was the thumbnail on the YouTube clip, but now it gets worse, there is a Technorati page devoted to the video, where as well as the feminine image for the clip but below that are a bunch of Mariah Carey videos... who do they think I am Thalia or Mariah?

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Friday, May 02, 2008
  I'm sold on mobile phones, maybe...
David Kerr is a persistent chap before I'd set off for Faraway Places, he had me convinced that half the population of Mozambique had access to mobile phones with video (something half my household don't yet have). Visiting the refugee camp convinced me that lots of people there and even more in Thailand "proper" do too... Now he's trying to convince us that this format could be a good way to spread the Bible.

He convinced me to spend a while playing with 3GP, if I cut the frame rate to slideshow proportions (just 1fps) and keep the audio low (but not too low) I can fit a whole short Psalm with pictures into less than 400KB. Judge for yourselves if it is worth it (just remember I spent more effort on the technical side than choosing photos - so there are lots of cute kids ;-)

Here is the 3gp version of Psalm 67 at only 368KB, and the WMV Psalm 67 at 1.97MB with much better picture quality to demonstrate what you lose in making it quite that small for a phone. (and a Flash version of Psalm 67 for Maccies at "only" 2.57MB!)

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Saturday, April 12, 2008
  Gym Junkie
This You Tube clip shows the opening of Brian Krum's session from the Careymedia DVD on Leadership then and now he calls it "The gym-junkie" for obvious reasons, his text was 2 Peter 1.3-11, go figure!

If you like it you can now buy the DVD here.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008
  Video from a digital camera
Since on my sabbatical trip we'll be visiting a couple of interesting places: Colombo Theological Seminary, in Sri Lanka and a refugee camp with a Bible School that will celebrate 25 years while we are there, we thought we'd try to get some decent photos and video to put on the blog where we'll write about the trip. So, we bought a Canon TX-1, this seems to be a great combination of 7 megapixel still shots with HD video with a 10x optical zoom, and all in a small bundle that fits in my shirt pocket, and at a good price! I only bought a big storage card, so I couldn't try it on HD the other day, but here's some "normal" video - I wondered where our plums were going!

If it looks blurred, blame Flash compression, if it looks jerky I had no tripod (or whatever) and was using full optical (10x) AND digital (3x more giving 30x) zoom!

BTW over the next few weeks posting to this blog will stop, and probably hardly resume till mid-April, so please do subscribe to Teaching OT in faraway places we know we will find the experience interesting, fun and that we will learn a lot - we hope we (Barbara and Sarah will probably share writing the posts and taking the video/photos) can share that with you.


Saturday, December 01, 2007
  Why e-portfolios?
Do NOT yawn, despite all the boring waffle and technical jabber, e-portfolios actually matter to ordinary mortals!

Cathy Gunn (U of A) has posted a video of extracts from Mark Nichols presentation on e-portfolios (see also my post below) so now you can see what I meant, his "A movie or a snapshot?" really does explain why this matters. Unfortunately it was posted to an Apple site, so I can't embed it here (or at least I can't see how to...) sometimes Mac people are just SO proprietary - I wonder when a shareable YouTube pirate version will appear!?

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Thursday, October 25, 2007
  Evangelicals on You Tube
The World Evangelical Alliance has become a user on You Tube, joining thousands (and perhaps millions) of individual Evangelicals and churches who already use the medium to communicate. For now the videos are basic "talking heads", but Geoff Tunnicliffe, the International Director of WEA, is a Canadian with a soft voice and a gentle approach, so they should work well, leaving the edgier stuff for the less institutional Christian presence ;-)

In the please-pray-for-Myanma video a few news clips, and in the Korean missionaries video some shots of the people being talked about could have enlivened the presentation. If many people watch these then perhaps the use of the medium will get more sophisticated - though hopefully still with the occasional and therefore low(ish) tech approach of these...

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Wednesday, October 03, 2007
  Bee keeping in ancient Israel
This undated photograph made available by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem shows an archaeologist next to an opening of one of the ancient beehives found in excavations in Tel Rehov in northern Israel. Archaeologists digging in northern Israel have discovered evidence of a 3,000-year-old beekeeping industry, including remnants of ancient honeycombs, beeswax and what they believe are the oldest intact beehives ever found. (AP Photo / Amihai Mazar, Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
Image and text from AP
Todd points to some Short, Informative Videos from archaeological digs. The one that interested me most is The Beehives of Tel Rehov, about which I posted a while back. The video makes the extent of the find much clearer, and incidentally gives some idea of how a dig works.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Here's a You Tube you might like to share! Done by a student in my colleague Myk's "Holy Spirit" class. Any suggestions for a better title? (Assuming the author is willing to change the name (-:


Sunday, June 17, 2007
  Matthew 5:17ff. : How to read the Old Testament
I preached to Titirangi Baptist Church today, basically the same notes as I used for the sermon they videoed in College Chapel for the Careymedia DVD on the Sermon on the Mount.

My text was Matthew 5:17-48. A long, complex, and difficult passage! Basically I focused on the opening: where Jesus affirms unequivocally that he came to "fulfil" the Law and Prophets, and NOT to abolish them. Noticing how Jesus develops this in a series of examples where what he demands of us is stronger and harder than what Old Testament law requires. He closes the section saying: "Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Mat 5:48) It's too long (at 30mins plus question time!) for 5 Minute Bible so I am posting it here:
BTW the previous session I did for a Careymedia DVD was on Song of Songs for the DVD "Church Then and Now" (for other extracts see here).

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007
  Big Bibles: a response to Lingamish
In a recent article Lingamish claims that Big Bibles are used to "whack" people. In the spirit of scholarly debate I offer this response from the well known open scholarship repository U-Bend:

PS: I am still waiting for all the visitors to come flocking looking for Contrarians ;-)

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007
  Creation video
Stephen Cook posted on Sunday a fine student video of Genesis 1. If you don't read Biblische Ausbildung then do take a look, the execution is superb it is "The Creation Account" on YouTube.
If it was an assignment - I get students to "perform" biblical texts as an integrative assignment in several classes - I would have liked to see more emphasis on the structures of the text, esp the seven day one, and on the end in Sabbath not merely rest but also worship. But that's the scholar once again examining the teeth of donated equines, and this equine has magnificent colours!

PS, to any future students reading this, I don't expect this quality of execution for the assignment, though I dream of getting it and astoundingly often do!

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Saturday, March 31, 2007
  Wow! Bible Places, fun and progress, whose blog I am now watching with interest, was mentioned by Sean at Blogos. I want to write about it in two ways, though given that this is likely to be the busiest week of my year, briefly ;-) First the wow response to what you can already do with the data and then a brief reminder of why this is really important. offers us lists of places mentioned in the Bible with associated with their locations. Or as OB's first post (kind of the opposite of the "Last Post"?) puts it, answering the question "Why this site?":
Simple. It’s weird that no one’s ever collected basic biblical data—such as the locations of all the places in the Bible—into an accessible format.
What this means now is a series of small files you can plugin to Google Earth (the post "How to Add KMLs to Google Earth" explains how) and double click to zoom to places mentioned in the Bible. So I started with Amos 1, and away I went.... I wonder could I record Google Earth animations of swooping from one tro another of the places in the Oracles against the Nations in chs.1-2, that could be fun and interesting... Meanwhile here's one that pictures the phrase "from Dan to Beersheba" ;-)


[Incidentally for those with Windows, or who are willing to download VLC the great media player for most OS here's a Windows Media version of the file that gives better quality for small file size ;-) Here's the link to view it on YouTube, or get the code to embed it in your blog.]

Now, having got the "wow" out of the way for a few minutes, here's why it is really important. This data, linking place names with locations has been collected, and made available under a Creative Commons licence. Which means that as long as they attribute the data people can correct it, and reuse it in new ways in new applications... Sean explains it well with lots of detail, so if you can't instantly see why this is significant read the post!

Scholars are inveterate examiners of the standards of dentistry in complimentary equines. So, I'll note that on the front page their goal is expressed like this, to present: "The location of every identifiable place mentioned in the Bible." Now, inevitable there are many judgement calls in such a list. Is Tell es-Seba`the biblical Beersheba? Or Tell es-Safi Gath? The fact that this data has been presented under a CC licence means that someone can produce a more cautious list, or a more adventurous one, depending on their needs and the use they plan for the data.

Data is used to grow knowledge, and knowledge can be used to develop understanding... BUT if the data is held in proprietary formats it can only be used by some privileged people... So, not merely "Wow!" but also grateful thanks for a fine job begun...

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007
  The Mouth Revolution!?
Here's a fun You Tube with a message even - The Mouth Revolution.

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Video formats

Well, serves me right for being impatient ;-) Mea Culpa, I did put up links to the Who is God? video before I made other formats available.

In the past I've used Windows Media (15MB for the HQ version) and Real Media (under 10MB!) both of which give nice small files. However, it seems they are a problem for anyone using Mac or Linux. So, how about Apple's MOV format, looks nice, but at 52MB it's a bit on the hefty side (perhaps its the CODEC, but trying to use Apple's proprietary Sorenson CODEC was going to take more than 3 hours to convert, maybe I'll set it to work over lunch, could give me an excuse for a long lunch break!?); or the equally proprietary Flash format (34MB for the SWF)...

[NB I tried the free Riva FLV encoder, but could not get past the opening screen which did not display correctly, despite downloading from two different sites...]

Seriously, any comments on which formats "work" for you, and the quality/size issue would be great, and does anyone know a non-proprietary way to do this, that users can actually watch?
OK, this should please the iPod fans, here's the mp4 iPod format (just 31MB, and not too bad quality ;-)


Monday, December 18, 2006

Shouting Stones - seminar for churches

I've been giving myself some short breaks from the serious business of preparing next year's new courses (for the first semester 50% of three new ones) by working on a new short "video" introducing the seminar I offer for churches Shouting Stones: geography and archaeology reveal the Missionary God of the Old Testament. The full thing started life as a weekend camp, was cut down to just a few 50min academic hour sessions, and now I've made part one into a quarter of an hour's video called "Who is God?" (there is also a low bandwidth version).

I wonder if I've used too many presentation slides and too few pictures, and also whether I should have adapted the material more as well as compressing or summarising... Do let me know what you think, I'm not really thin skinned!

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Thursday, December 07, 2006

YouTube and shameless self-promotion ::

I mentioned the Carey video clips on YouTube a while back, but Mike has asked us all to draw attention to them, and Paul has blogged about them, so here's another bit of shameless self promotion the list of video clips is here (well, it is not exactly SELF promotion, do NOT watch the one with me in, just look at the others)!


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