domingo, 14 de junio de 2009

Sproutbuilder Back?


A story in past simple:

They offered a great new service to build widgets in flash.
They became very popular.
They suddenly decided they wanted everyone to pay large fees to use their formerly free service.
They lost their user (some would say FAN) base.

This week I received a message from them. They offered me the three free sprouts I had made without charges.

So the free sprouts are back, it seems, for whoever wishes to sign up.

Better not have anything important on them, though, because they seem to change their mind very quickly and that does not fill one with confidence on using their very excellent service. offers a similar service, and don't seem as arbitrary.

In the meantime take a look at both sites to make mini web pages with no programming.

lunes, 8 de junio de 2009

(Sort of) Trading Euros for Dollars.

This is a fantastic program to project onto a whiteboard: it creates a visual background for language.

Imagine dividing the classroom into groups, coming up with strategies to solve the problem, and voting for the most elegant solution. Or in small classes, one person tells another what to do...

You can focus the language at whatever level you are on: conditionals, present simple vs. continuous... whatever. Students should be motivated by the openness of the game to produce language that pushes their boundries of production.

Above all, "Thinking in English" is not one single goal, but two goals. They have to think first... and a memorable visual background with a puzzle to solve is a good hook for memory.

Although a video game is different than a live performance, both projects follow similar principles of visual puzzles, and interactivity, and can motivate and create good memories in English, But... I can't compete with its price. Hmm. Maybe I should delete this entry. (or at least not mention the webpage

Or I could offer a discount of 20 euros off the price of our show to any school that buys the program. (at 20 dollars American... )

If you can't beat them, join them.

miércoles, 3 de junio de 2009


Here is another example of performing space, the classic stage.
This is one of the few times I did "Artist on Residence" on a stage... that is... without having the students on the stage as well.

This is the Colegio Miralba, which has a write-up on the show here:

They build submarines!

In the Politecnico Cartagena, I had a lovely time.
It is a high school I would have enjoyed: they build fully functional models of submarines, and have made a C3P0 that is an actual working robot. (the link on the title of this entry goes to their web page.)

The staff, as you can see with the English teachers in the photo, are not at all shy, and do an excellent job "in the trenches". (I get to run in for one day, have fun with the students, and avoid the discipline problems and the meetings with angry parents. Que cara tengo.)

In Madrid

Here is a room with accoustic challenges... a square room and a pillar in the center.

I took the corner, to minimise direct echo, putting students on two sides.
I put the sound as close as possible as the students, and low to the ground.
This kept the echo down as they absorbed the sound.

Perception in Paterna... check out this space.

This is a very well designed theatre space... with the possibility of HORRIBLE acoustics, the walls were corklined and the ceiling lined with cloth. No echo, no need to put myself in a corner to minimize feedback. What a pleasant surprise.

Congratulations to the local administration in making the space so functional.