Jigidi – online jigsaw puzzle tool

I have tried a new tool this week. It is called Jigidi and it creates free online jigsaw puzzles.

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It is simple to use. You can go to the site to access the expanding library of jigsaw puzzles created by others. You can search for puzzles based on a theme, by puzzle difficulty (easy is 60 pieces or less and challenging puzzles have 240 plus pieces).

In the puzzle work space, you can zoom in or out to give yourself more room to work. The ‘full screen’ mode removes other distractions and helps to focus on the challenge at hand. The site requires the Flash plug-in to make the puzzles interactive.

If you create an account (it’s free) you can upload your own images to make your own jigsaw puzzles to share. This will also remove ads from the puzzle pages. The tool does not require an email address to register.

It is very quick to create a puzzle. Upload your image, decide on the the difficulty (number of pieces) and create.set-up 2

Once created you can add extra data such as title, description, attribution and if you are happy to make it public, category and copyright details.

Click on Solve and the puzzle comes up. You can have a timer added if you want and can enlarge to fit the whole screen.

It is fun to see how many solves you get. my Radcliffe Camera puzzle had 74 in just over an hour and the Ford Anglia from the Harry Potter films had an interesting comment about the car.

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You could use it with classes as a way of introducing a topic via images or as a review activity at the end.

You could have mystery images of places and see how quickly students realise where they are eg. geography or language studies. The timer could be used to see how fast someone can finish the puzzle.

Students could take some relevant (topic) photos, upload their  images and  shared the puzzles with their classmates or even parents.

Jigsaw planet

It is the last day of the school holidays for me. I have been looking after my niece and nephews (7 yrs and younger). We have been lucky and have enjoyed great weather these holidays but I tried to make sure I had some other ideas if the weather turned and outside activities needed to be curtailed.

Aidan and Ruby both like doing jigsaw puzzles and have a quite a few at home as well as borrowing them from the children’s toy library at home. Aside from being fun, they are a great way to spend some time practising spatial awareness, problem solving, hand-eye co-ordination and concentration.

I came across this program that I thought the kids would like. It offers an alternative to a physical jigsaw puzzle in that it offers an online one for a change.  Jigsaw Planet is free and easy to use. You don’t need to register to have access to puzzle creation.

You can see other puzzles that have been made to try out but I prefer the idea of creating you own.

  1. Upload your own photo/image
  2. Choose to how many pieces to make it. (Between a 4 and 300 piece puzzle)
  3. You can also select the shape of the pieces, with a very simple shape suitable for pre-schoolers.
  4. Put in some tags for later location
  5. Click on create

I found that is was easier/quicker to upload if I made my image smaller (eg. jpeg file 300 -400 KB) but the quality was still good.

To complete the jigsaw puzzle you simply drag the piece across the screen. There are a few options you can use to assist you:

  • ask to have a small picture available to look at whilst doing the puzzle
  • choose to have a ghost image to fit your pieces over
  • choose the colour of the background to make it easier to see the image

I also liked:  

  • the “click” sound when pieces slotted together
  • that you can embed the puzzle, as I did below, and click to play it at the site
  • or you can send the URL to others

I thought that Jigsaw Planet might be useful to use in the classroom in a few ways.

The jigsaws could be used in new classes (or in a PD class) because, as each puzzle is timed as you put it together, you could have groups of students try to can complete the puzzle in the fastest time as a team building exercise. 

A teacher could create puzzles that teach students facts or images that would create discussion. Students could then put them together and then read and/or the facts/images once the puzzle has been completed.  The students could also create their own puzzles for other students to do.

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HistoryPin – creating digital history

Google Maps allows you to develop a feel for an area and its surroundings when you use their street view options but what if you are interested in the development of an area over time?

We Are What We Do, a social action movement based in the UK (London), created Historypin in partnership with Google may just offer this option.

One of the aims of We Are What We Do was to get people from different generations to spend more time together….old photos are a great way of gathering people together and getting them chatting. So, we decided to create a website where people everywhere could share their old photos and the stories behind them. We wanted people to dig out, scan, upload and pin their photos and stories to a map of the world for everyone to see. We also thought it would be neat if you could compare these old photos with how the world looks today, making the site a bit like a digital time machine.

It has the potential to become the largest user-generated archive of the world’s historical images and stories. Web users are asked to contribute to the site by uploading their archive photographs and geo-tagging them so they will be linked to a specific location. You are encouraged to add the stories behind the photo as well and thus building up a visual history book. So Historypin will enable you to pin your history to the world and see what others have posted about events and stories throughout the passage of time by using the time slider.

We some geography units for our students that are based around how areas have changed over time. They have always loved the comparisons between the historical photos I found for local areas and current photos I went out and took of the same places. This would be a great opportunity for them to do their own research and spend time with their parents and grandparents, talking about old photos in their family and making sure the stories they hear are kept for posterity. They could do the technical work and the older generations relate the stories/history.

I also see the information of use in history classes and our language classes where they also look into the culture of the country.

Getting started

To begin you will need to:

  • collect your own photos and it is recommended that they be outdoor shots.
  • know the location for each photo (the street rather than town or suburb)
  • scan your photos onto a computer

You can register by going to the homepage and clicking on the join button. You will need a Gmail address (you can get one from here) and once you have joined you use will use Google’s Picassa site for sharing photos.

There is a very easy to use (and thorough) how-to on the site here

The Human clock and calendar

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I have been trying to think interesting themes that students could be given for their photographs. I had seen a few references to the HumanClock.com and the HumanCalendar so I though I would have a look.  The February example of the calendar is above. A little of the Brady Bunch being channelled in this one. Set the week to start on Sunday or Monday and the size, large or small.

This would be a good idea for students to create their own class photo calendar. Each month there could be a theme and then member of the class would take a photograph. Our year 7 students  have webcams in their notebooks/laptops so it would be very easy to do. It would offer a fun way to learn about how to use their webcams and learn a bit more about each other. Each month could be printed, laminated and up on their classroom wall.

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The Human Clock shows a photograph for the current time (set by you) and it changes each minute. There are a huge number of photographs that people, from all over the world, have uploaded for use. The photographs can vary immensely in style and perspective.

 

 

 

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You can choose analogue or digital clocks, set the time for a 12 or 24 hour time, change the background colour and choose some photo selection criteria.

The inventiveness of the people who have been taking the photographs is phenomenal. It is another way that the web is using communal activity to be creative.

Anyone can submit an idea for a time but read the guidelines on the site carefully. I am sure that many of our students could come up with all sorts of inventive ways to indicate a time.

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Images and words: using, manipulating, playing

Whilst I was on-line this morning up popped a couple of emails, One was sent by a teacher and it included the photograph below.

I looked around the web and found a blog, CFRU 93.3fm Election Radio, which posted the photo with the following text

It would seem that the credit crunch is having a really significant impact in the UK.

Even those more fortunate than most are having to make difficult decisions to ensure that their standard of living is maintained.

I don’t know if they created the photo but it certainly brought a laugh to students and teachers alike. I had a great discussion last week with the boys in the reading club/group. We started off talking about some books, then got om to how the media manipulated readers by the language used in their stories and finally discussed the economic crisis and the speeches made by politicians (what do they really mean?)

I was sitting in the library and around me there was a display of newspaper headlines for this year. I had collected these news banners for the morning delivery of papers over this year. So many words in bold print saying…?

These headlines have caused quite a bit of discussion with the students when they have come into the library over the past week.

I then started thinking about what activities you might base on these headlines. They could be the basis of some interesting approaches to language. Continue reading