Things I’m Learning about HDMI Cables

I’ve learned and am still learning some important lessons about HDMI cables as a school technology director. Unlike older VGA cables used with many classroom projectors in the past, HDMI cables can carry both video AND audio signals. VGA cables required the use of a separate (usally 1/8th inch) audio cable when playing videos or other multimedia with sound from a laptop computer or other computing device. The transition to HDMI-based classroom projection options is an ongoing journey for us at our school in our classrooms and meeting spaces. Here are a few of the lessons I’ve learned in the past year about HDMI connections.

Not all HDMI cables are created equal. We’ve had a couple HDMI cables in the past year just not work with newer classroom projectors we have ordered. (My preferred classroom projectors at this point, btw, are Casio “lamp free” LED models, which we’ve been able to purchase on Amazon for around $750 but also for as little as $530 each. If teachers want a TV instead of a projector, I’m a fan of Best Buy’s 55″ Insignia models since we can get them for about $320 each, but I suspect since prices are continuing to fall we’ll look for 65″ models down the road.) HDMI cables comply with different standards, ranging from 1.0 to 2.1, which was just finalized last month in November 2017. This comparison chart on the English WikiPedia page for HDMI cables is helpful to highlight the performance differences and capabilities. I have not attended to the HDMI cable specification ratings in the past as closely as I should have when ordering.

According to the December 2, 2017 LifeWire article, “High Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) Facts,” there are seven different HDMI product categories today:

  1. HDMI Standard
  2. HDMI Standard with Ethernet
  3. HDMI Standard Automotive
  4. HDMI High Speed
  5. HDMI High Speed with Ethernet
  6. Premium HDMI High Speed with Ethernet
  7. Ultra Premium HDMI High Speed (Forthcoming for 8K applications)

Sadly as I’ve been ordering HDMI cables in the past, I have not been aware of or attended to (as I should have) these HDMI cable category differences. HDMI.org has a helpful page, “Finding the Right Cable,” which elaborates on these HDMI product category characteristics and differences.

HDMI cables have distance limits which vary by their specification. HDMI extenders are available which can boost signal strength, but they can also degrade signal quality. Generally the recommendations I’ve read say you should limit HDMI connections to about 15 feet unless you boost the signal somehow. We haven’t done this in all cases at school, but we probably should according to “HDMI experts.”

A few weeks ago we connected two 65″ TVs on stands in our cafeteria with a DV camcorder connected to a HDMI splitter which duplicated the image on both TVs. We used the camcorder to provide a “live feed” of an elementary student choir performance for a packed audience of grandparents who didn’t all have a clear view of the stage from the back of the room. In getting this setup connected, I was both surprised and frustrated that a HDMI connection to a different camcorder did not work. I suspect (but was not able to confirm) that the video format, size, or HDMI specification being output by the camcorder did not match what our HDMI splitter could accept and use. Thankfully, we had a different HD camcorder which worked after being outfitted with a HDMI output adapter from Best Buy.

This evening for our winter orchestra concert, I connected one of our 65″ TVs on a rolling stand to that same HD camcorder which we put up in the sound booth, to provide a lobby-area overflow TV viewing option for people who could not fit into our auditorium. I tried using the same HDMI cable to connect the camcorder to the TV that I had used several weeks ago for our elementary choir performance “live feed,” but for some reason it wouldn’t work. I suspect it was because it was a 100′ HDMI cable, and that run was too long for the power of the HDMI signal from the camcorder. When I connected the same HDMI splitter box that I had used successfully with the same HD camcorder and TV, however, it still didn’t work. I ended up having to substitute a 25′ HDMI cable, and that worked directly between the camcorder and TV.

I’ve been relieved to get the HDMI camera feed to work for both of these events, but it’s NOT been an easy process to troubleshoot these connections. I need to learn more about HDMI cable differences and capabilities, and pay more attention (I’m guessing) to the required power and video format requirements of different devices before I order and/or connect HDMI cables.

I’ve learned all HDMI cables are NOT “created equal.” I’ve also learned it’s important to NOT assume a long run HDMI cable will “just work” the way you’d expect an ethernet cable run of 300 feet or less to always work reliably as long as the ends are crimped correctly. (Thankfully I don’t have to do ethernet cable crimping anymore. I used to dabble a bit in that, but no longer.)

What have you learned working with different kinds of HDMI cables in different situations? Do you have any insights or nuggets of wisdom to offer me? I very much want and need to learn more about this, even though I’ve had a steep learning curve the past few months with HDMI. If you have a comment or thought to share, please add it as a comment below on this post (the best option since others will also get to read/see our dialog) or reach out to me on Twitter @wfryer.

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Did you know Wes has published several eBooks and “eBook singles?” 1 of them is available free! Check them out! Also visit Wes’ subscription-based tutorial VIDEO library supporting technology integrating teachers worldwide!

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10 Things I Learned Visiting Egypt

Last Wednesday about 8 members of our school faculty and staff spent the morning at the Innovation Hub at the University of Oklahoma (@ouinnovationhub). Last Saturday morning I reflected on five things I learned from that “mini-retreat.”  In this post, I’m going to share slides from a short presentation I gave at the retreat, as well as a narrated slideshow recording I created as a “practice run” the evening before. My presentation summarized 10 things I learned visiting Egypt in November for the 2017 EduForum Conference. Those ideas are included in this Google Slideshow. Some of these lessons learned and tips were the same as those I shared in this November 20th post right after I returned from Egypt, but a few of them were modified / different. In order, they are (with related and included resource links):

  1. Limit Personal Digital Data While Traveling (Digital Privacy at the U.S. Border: Protecting the Data On Your Devices and In the Cloud  by @EFF)
  2. A $146 Android Phone is pretty capable (Motorola E4 Plus smartphone)
  3. 2 Factor Authentication Options (Authy)
  4. Chromebook = Outstanding Travel Laptop (11″ Dell Chromebook with 4 GB RAM)
  5. ProHDR = Great photo app for iOS & Android
  6. What Personal Information Do You Want Private? (for me: Contacts, Past personal emails, Past personal calendar, financial / family data)
  7. Android Phone Video Editing Apps: Quik (from GoPro) and Adobe Premier Clip
  8. What’s App is Amazing
  9. Passion for student voice is transnational and can be communicate despite language and cultural barriers (#Room108 Students Respond: “I Have a Dream…” – short version)
  10. Democracy is young, fragile, and depends upon institutions (including political parties) to succeed

Here’s the narrated slideshow / video version, which is 13.5 minutes long.

Finally, here are the slides, which include the same links as above but with some related images. I opened this Google Slide Presentation in the iPad App Explain Everything (Classic) to create the previous narrated slideshow video.

If you have any questions, comments or feedback on these lessons learned and resources, I’d love to hear from you. Please reach out on Twitter to me @wfryer, or leave a comment below.

If you enjoyed this post and found it useful, consider subscribing to Wes’ free, weekly newsletter. Generally Wes shares a new edition on Monday mornings, and it includes a TIP, a TOOL, a TEXT (article to read) and a TUTORIAL video. You can also check out past editions of Wes’ newsletter online free!


Did you know Wes has published several eBooks and “eBook singles?” 1 of them is available free! Check them out! Also visit Wes’ subscription-based tutorial VIDEO library supporting technology integrating teachers worldwide!

MORE WAYS TO LEARN WITH WES: Do you use a smartphone or tablet? Subscribe to Wes’ free magazine “iReading” on Flipboard! Follow Dr. Wesley Fryer on Twitter (@wfryer), Facebook and Google+. Also “like” Wes’ Facebook page for “Speed of Creativity Learning“. Don’t miss Wesley’s latest technology integration project, “Show With Media: What Do You Want to CREATE Today?

Reflections on Learning from the OU Innovation Hub

This past Wednesday, December 6, 2017, I had an opportunity to participate in a “mini-retreat” with colleagues from Casady School (@casadyschoolokc) at the Innovation Hub at the University of Oklahoma (@ouinnovationhub).This is a group of both faculty and staff, involved in supporting and teaching coding and computer science at different levels at our school. This morning on Saturday, I recorded an almost 10 minute narrated slideshow, reflecting on five things this mini-retreat encouraged me to consider and think about as we strive to find ways to support innovation, creativity, multi-disciplinary learning, and STEM/STEAM learning including coding / computer science at our school in Oklahoma City. I created this narrated slideshow on my iPad using the app Explain Everything (@explainevrythng).

The five primary things I reflected on in this video were:

  1. The value and importance of exercise and wellness
  2. “Daily Create” challenges and celebrating a creative culture
  3. Multi-screen interactive classrooms of the future
  4. The importance of a centrally located coffee shop for learning
  5. The power of innovative learning spaces and “team time”

I shared a number of photos and observations during our mini-retreat tours on Wednesday, which included redesigned portions of the library at the University of Oklahoma (@ou_libraries) as well as the OU Innovation Hub. Those are collected in a Storify archive, which is also embedded below. If you have feedback or comments on any of these ideas please reach out to me on Twitter @wfryer or leave a comment below!

If you enjoyed this post and found it useful, consider subscribing to Wes’ free, weekly newsletter. Generally Wes shares a new edition on Monday mornings, and it includes a TIP, a TOOL, a TEXT (article to read) and a TUTORIAL video. You can also check out past editions of Wes’ newsletter online free!


Did you know Wes has published several eBooks and “eBook singles?” 1 of them is available free! Check them out! Also visit Wes’ subscription-based tutorial VIDEO library supporting technology integrating teachers worldwide!

MORE WAYS TO LEARN WITH WES: Do you use a smartphone or tablet? Subscribe to Wes’ free magazine “iReading” on Flipboard! Follow Dr. Wesley Fryer on Twitter (@wfryer), Facebook and Google+. Also “like” Wes’ Facebook page for “Speed of Creativity Learning“. Don’t miss Wesley’s latest technology integration project, “Show With Media: What Do You Want to CREATE Today?

Podcast458: Reflections and Lessons Learned from STEAM Studio Fall 2017

This podcast features a recorded audio reflection by Megan Thompson (@seeingnewshapes) and Wes Fryer (@wfryer) on their co-led fall 2017 “STEAM Studio” class for 2nd, 3rd and 4th graders at Casady School in Oklahoma City. This is an eight week after-school program, and this was the second year for Megan and Wes to collaborate on STEAM Studio. Check out the podcast shownotes for links to referenced resources including “The Creative Learning Spiral” by Mitch Resnik (@mres), the new book “Lifelong Kindergarten: Cultivating Creativity through Projects, Passion, Peers, and Play” by Resnik, “The Storymatic Kids!”, iOS apps ChatterPix, YakIt Kids and Green Screen by DoInk, and more! Check out more STEAM resources and ideas on Megan’s classroom website on http://seeingnewshapes.casady.org/steam

Shownotes:

  1. Subscribe to Moving at the Speed of Creativity Podcasts
  2. Follow Megan Thompson on Twitter: @seeingnewshapes
  3. Follow Wes Fryer on Twitter: @wfryer
  4. The Creative Learning Spiral by @mres
  5. The Storymatic Kids ($30)
  6. ChatterPix Kids for iOS
  7. YAKiT Kids for iOS
  8. Green Screen by DoInk for iOS
  9. Green Screen Video creation resources on ShowWithMedia.com
  10. STEAM Resources by Megan Thompson, Shelly Fryer and Wes Fryer
  11. Book by @mres: Lifelong Kindergarten: Cultivating Creativity through Projects, Passion, Peers, and Play
  12. Exploratorium: The Museum of Science, Art and Human Perception (in San Francisco)
  13. Free Webinar video archive by Shelly Fryer: Helping Students Learn Coding with Scratch Jr. and PBS Kids Scratch Jr. (Slides)
  14. Free Webinar video archive by Wesley Fryer: Developing Computational Thinking with Scratch Coding (Slidesmore background / videos)

If you enjoyed this post and found it useful, consider subscribing to Wes’ free, weekly newsletter. Generally Wes shares a new edition on Monday mornings, and it includes a TIP, a TOOL, a TEXT (article to read) and a TUTORIAL video. You can also check out past editions of Wes’ newsletter online free!


Did you know Wes has published several eBooks and “eBook singles?” 1 of them is available free! Check them out! Also visit Wes’ subscription-based tutorial VIDEO library supporting technology integrating teachers worldwide!

MORE WAYS TO LEARN WITH WES: Do you use a smartphone or tablet? Subscribe to Wes’ free magazine “iReading” on Flipboard! Follow Dr. Wesley Fryer on Twitter (@wfryer), Facebook and Google+. Also “like” Wes’ Facebook page for “Speed of Creativity Learning“. Don’t miss Wesley’s latest technology integration project, “Show With Media: What Do You Want to CREATE Today?

Developing Computational Thinking with Scratch Coding (webinar video)

Last night I had an opportunity to present a free, evening webinar for the Oklahoma State Department of Education’s Educational Technology Division, as part of a series they hosted to prepare teachers for Computer Science Education Week. The title of my presentation was, “Developing Computational Thinking with Scratch Coding.” The webinar recording is 1 hour and 11 minutes long, and my presentation slides are also available via Google Slides. All these presentation resources are available on my presentation handouts website using the shortened URL wfryer.me/scratch.

During the webinar, which was hosted on WebEx, I shared several videos. This helpful, 4 minute video tutorial showed me the process and steps of sharing a pre-recorded video successfully during a WebEx webinar, and it seemed to work very well. I was glad to not only watch that video in advance, but also have an opportunity to test my slides and videos in WebEx in advance with SDE staff.

The first video I shared during the webinar was the 2013 Code.org video, “What Most Schools Don’t Teach.” This is one of my favorite videos to show students and parents to encourage an interest in coding. It’s especially notable since it features several famous people including Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg. This is a video I used to have on the homepage of my STEM curriculum website, and still have on the site’s subpage for the Hour of Code.

The second video I shared was “Rainbow Race Scratch Project by Wyatt,” which is a Scratch project “show and tell” quick edit video from 2013 by a student I co-taught in a 5 day Spring Break Scratch Camp. The “Reflections” page of that Scratch Camp resource wiki has several more compelling student Scratch videos like this one.

I also mentioned (but did not play) this short video clip of Google CEO Sundar Pichai in May 2017 explaining how Google is pivoting from a “mobile first” to an “AI first” approach in all its products and services. I explained this has big implications for all of us and how we need to be introducing the basics of coding / computational thinking to ALL students. I referenced my November 4, 2017 presentation (available as an audio podcast) “Teaching and Learning in an AI First World” from G Camp OKC, if people want to hear more about those ideas.

In addition to watching and listening to the webinar archive, I encourage you to check out the “Scratch Camp” wiki I’ve been building and adding curriculum to since 2012. The May 2017 “Scratch Day” agenda and resource page has good suggested Scratch activities. The March 2013 Spring Break Scratch Camp “videos” page has some more of my all-time favorite coding related motivational clips, including the “Intel Rockstar Video,” “Keep Moving Forward” (from one of my favorite movies, “Meet the Robinsons”) and “Nokia – The Fourth Screen.” I didn’t share these in the webinar, but if you’re introducing students to coding, computer science and STEM/STEAM, they are definitely worth watching and passing along at some point!

If you watch the recorded webinar and find it interesting / useful / worthwhile, please let me know with a comment below or by reaching out on Twitter @wfryer.

Also be sure to check out my wife’s recorded webinar video and Google Slides from her presentation Wednesday night this week in the same series, “Helping Students Learn Coding with Scratch Jr. and PBS Kids Scratch Jr.”

Happy Scratching!

If you enjoyed this post and found it useful, consider subscribing to Wes’ free, weekly newsletter. Generally Wes shares a new edition on Monday mornings, and it includes a TIP, a TOOL, a TEXT (article to read) and a TUTORIAL video. You can also check out past editions of Wes’ newsletter online free!


Did you know Wes has published several eBooks and “eBook singles?” 1 of them is available free! Check them out! Also visit Wes’ subscription-based tutorial VIDEO library supporting technology integrating teachers worldwide!

MORE WAYS TO LEARN WITH WES: Do you use a smartphone or tablet? Subscribe to Wes’ free magazine “iReading” on Flipboard! Follow Dr. Wesley Fryer on Twitter (@wfryer), Facebook and Google+. Also “like” Wes’ Facebook page for “Speed of Creativity Learning“. Don’t miss Wesley’s latest technology integration project, “Show With Media: What Do You Want to CREATE Today?