- Introduce (again) Diigo to enable staff to share website resources.(try the laptops first to ensure no glitches this time!). Staff are constantly reinventing the wheel in their search for websites for themselves and students. Many sites are forgotten or cannot be accessed when needed, as they are on their desktop at school. Diigo will allow our staff to build and share a common repertoire of useful websites, including the ability to share highlights and annotations. We will also be able to use Diigo for education with our students, allowing teachers to share subject specific sites with them, or allowing students to create their own groups to share sites. Sites can be accessed by staff and students 24/7 from any Internet connection. This is also a gentle introduction to using Social Networking with both staff and students.
- Introduce new Multimedia Presentation tools (time to move past Powerpoint!). Staff continue to use Powerpoint, because they are familiar with it. Students are exposed to so much more media that is interactive, that they find Powerpoint tired and ‘lame’ to quote a few. Interactive tools such as Animoto, Voicethread, Prezi, and others allow students the ability to share information in a way that excites and interests them. Staff are looking for presentation tools that are simple to create, engaging for students and meet learning needs (Frequent Five no. 1). Staff who are explaining how to use computer tools over and over again, from year to year or class to class, can use Jing to save their teaching, and simply show the video to students when needed, allowing students who require extra help the option of getting it whenever they need, simply by clicking on a link (saved in Diigo, of course!)
- Develop our use of Videosharing: focusing on students creating and sharing video. We have purchased one Flip cam per grade level team, and the expectation is that they will be used by staff and students to record events, student plays, projects or readings, etc. Staff are interested in how to best use the Flips, and in sharing the clips via their class websites, or by loading them onto TeacherTube (YouTube still being semi-blocked by the district). Teachers are also interested in sharing curriculum related Internet videos, perhaps by using a site like Vodpod, or just using Diigo for this as well.
- Deepen our understanding of wikis, blogging and podcasting (see Frequent Five no.5). We have already begun to use wikis and blogs, however we have just scratched the surface of using these sites with our students. So far, our blogging efforts have been mostly teacher posts requiring student comments. We need to move to students creating their own content through posting as well as commenting, creating their own blogs to show their learning, as both process and product. Teachers can be creating their own blogs to reflect on their learning, and if we ask teachers to comment on each other’s posts, we can create a reflective, collaborative tool to increase our own learning and deepen our practice. Wikis have been used in our school as pathfinders, note-takers, storytelling receptacles and presentation vehicles. Why not try using them for collaborative problem solving, journaling, portfolios, study guides, or notes collaboration? With the emphasis on collaboration in creating global learners, we should continue to explore and use this tool with students. We have just scratched the surface of podcasting and there is so much to learn about using it as a tool with students to create booktalks, showcase their learning, write and perform plays, create study guides, and more. Students can also search for and listen to podcasts in curricular areas such as social studies, language arts and more. Teachers can create podcasts for parent information, class notes for those who struggle with taking and reading notes, record professional development for others who are unable to attend, to present their ideas for teaching and learning in an alternate format, snf more. Even though we have already explored and use these tools, Frequent Five no. 5 says that there is no end to our learning. I am reminded by a quote on learning meditation from Lawrence Le Shan (2004): “When you get there, you find there is no there there.” The learning goes on and on. 🙂
Tag Archives: education
Podcasting reminds me of radio. I listen to podcasts of favourite shows like ‘The Vinyl Café’ on iTunes and on CBC radio online. Still, I had never considered making my own podcasts until reading Will Richardson (2009). Hey, I LOVE the sound of my own voice (say my kids), so this will be great! Podcasting…this should be easy! Will Richardson says so! Is he right? Check out my podcasts below…
As much as I admire and respect you, Will, I have to say that, once again, YouTube tutorials saved my ***. How about you? Are you trying to use Audacity? Have a look at these two:
I had trouble downloading the LAME software so I could export it to an MP3 file. Once again YouTube came to my rescue. A young (really young) man provided step by step instructions.
Finally, the software was saved to my computer. Then came the difficulty of loading the podcast to my WordPress blog. Now, if you want to upgrade for a minimum of $19.95, no problemo. However, if you want to do it for free, you need to host your podcast onto a web server. By this time, I was seriously considering getting out my credit card and going for it. However, I stopped to think about using this in a school district. Free is always better in our school! So, I searched and found Podcastmachine.com. A free account and easy upload made this a great choice. It loaded up on the WordPress blog, however, I just got a link to Podcastmachine, not the actual podcast. Remembering Joanne de Groot’s Trailfire, I decided to try Audioboo. Once again, a free account and easy upload. I was able to record directly onto Audioboo and skip the Audacity step. Hey, I found out I can even use Audioboo with my iPhone and iPad!
Remember, though, that Audioboo is like live radio. You get to record podcasts, but there’s no editing. Audacity will work better if you and your students want to work on those cool effects Will Richardson (2009) talks about.
Screencasting is one step up from podcasting. In screencasting, you can use Jing, a free program, to voiceover an image on the computer screen, save it as a video to Screencast.com and upload it to a blog or access it on your Smartboard or projector directly from Screencast. Will Richardson (2009) suggests using it to explain to students how to do something on the computer (see my explanation of Diigo in the previous post) or for students to share their work. See a demo here.
I love radio. Certain announcers have me hooked just by the sound of their voice. Jurgen Goth and Tom Allen on CBC are two of my absolute favourites. I would smile just by hearing their voice. Stuart MacLean and The Vinyl Café kept my kids from killing each other in the back seat on long road trips. How fantastic that I can download podcasts of their shows and listen to them on my computer or my iPod. Driving to work in the morning has been less relaxing now that CBC has moved to a more mainstream style of music. Now I can listen to podcasts in my car during my daily drive. I can listen to drama, comedy, book reviews, interviews, how-to shows and more, all on demand.
To use with students:
Lamb and Johnson (2007) talk about downloading podcasts to the library. I had never really thought about it. Talk about being stuck in the 20thy century vision of a library. I did go out and buy 4 iTouches for our library, how about downloading podcasts as resources? Off I went to iTunes and looked at ‘education’ and wow, what a treasure trove of resources. I always think of those students whose reading skills are far below their ability to understand concepts. Even finding websites and online encyclopedias for them to use is difficult, due to their low reading level. I have the free version of ‘ReadPlease’ on our laptops for them to use, but what about a podcast? ELL students could benefit from podcasts available for them on sites like Podcasts in English, Many Things, or how about English Banana? I also love the idea of linking podcast book review sites like Just One More Book to a school or library blog for students to access and listen to book reviews. What about listening to stories on sites like this one?
Chris Kretz ( 2007) suggests that librarians can create their own booktalks on Podcasts. Check out this booktalk I created using Audacity:
Compare it to the one I made using Audioboo.
Which is your preference? On the other hand, never mind me creating booktalks, I think that students should be creating their own booktalk podcasts. (Whoever is doing, is learningJ )
Common Craft, in their video, Podcasts in Plain English, say, “Everyone can have a voice that shows their true colours.” Students can use their voice to show their learning, share their work with other students, classes, parents and the world. Students could create a podcast as an assessment of learning at the end of a unit, or as an assessment for learning activity in the middle of one. Why not have students podcast picture books for younger students? It would help older students develop their reading fluency and would create a listening center for younger students using any book in the library. Students can be creating screencasts of stories they have written using pictures they have created or found on the web or podcasts to share their poetry. Consider how it feels to listen to an author read from their own work. Maya Angelou says “Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with deeper meaning.”
Students who have the opportunity to write and create podcasts on a variety of topics are learning to write, to listen, to collaborate, to share and to use technology to express themselves. Garner Campbell (2005) states that ‘there is magic in the human voice, the magic of shared awareness…voice can create a theatre of the mind (and) can connect with the listener on a profound level.” (p. 5). In a world where we worry about people becoming isolated, podcasting offers students that opportunity…to create magic and to connect with others on a personal level.
Angelou, Maya. Retrieved from http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/m/maya_angelou.html on October 15, 2010.
Campbell, G. (2005). There’s something in the air: Podcasting in education. Retrieved from http://www.cblt.soton.ac.uk/multimedia/PDFs08/Podcasting%20in%20education.pdf
Kretz, C. (2007). Podcasting in libraries. In Courtney, N. (Ed.), Library 2.0 and beyond (pg. 35-47). Westport, CO: Libraries Unlimited.
Lamb, A. & Johnson, L. (2007) Infotech: Podcasting in the library, part 1: Integrating podcasts and vodcasts into teaching and learning. In Rosenfeld, E. & Loertscher, D. (Ed.), Toward a 21st century school library media program (p. 163-170). Lanham, MA: Scarecrow Press.
Richardson, W. (2010). Blogs, wikis, podcasts and other powerful web tools for classrooms. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.
Andy Warhol was right! Everyone can have their 15 minutes of fame on YouTube. An exponentially growing social networking phenomenon, people everywhere are filming themselves getting married, giving birth, and dying. Not only filming it, but putting it out there for everyone to see. YouTube contains more than 2 billion videos and is growing daily with a wide variety of subjects. While many videos on YouTube are personal, many are videos created to promote and to share ideas and information. Entering the term “marriage” brought up 354 000 videos. In the first 10 videos, there were clips about traditional marriage, gay marriage, arranged marriages, a Sesame Street trailer, the marriage scene from the Princess Bride movie, and one of a marriage proposal.
Big Brother is watching YouTube!
YouTube is blocked in most school districts, due to the lack of censorship of the site. Anyone is allowed to upload videos to YouTube, and the only monitors of videos that may be offensive or inappropriate are the users themselves. Users are allowed to flag videos and they are then reviewed by YouTube staff, using their Community Guidelines . Many educators who would love to use the site for educational purposes become frustrated when having to deal with their inability to present great videos for learning to their students.
Teacher Tube is a safe alternative that is usually not blocked by school servers. It’s a site that is run by and for, educators. It is often available when YouTube is blocked. It currently has about 200 000 videos, as opposed to YouTube’s two billion. On Teacher Tube, teachers upload a variety of videos:
- To teach ideas in new and creative ways: Mr. Duey’s Fraction Rap
- To inform and motivate each other: Making Student Engagement Work
- And, to my mind the most powerful, to have students create and upload videos of their work: Three Words To The World
While TeacherTube is a safe alternative, I believe that YouTube is the best choice, simply from the sheer amount of material that is available. For example, typing in ‘Volcano Eruption” brings up 5, 320 hits, most of which are dramatic views of volcanic eruptions. TeacherTube, on the other hand, brings up 13 hits, almost half of which are making a volcanic eruption in science class.
I am fortunate that my school only blocks YouTube for students. As a teacher, I am able to enter my username and password and bypass the restrictions. However, students remain blocked. Will Richardson suggests that, instead of blocking YouTube, we should teach students to be aware of and use critical thinking skills to deal with inappropriate content. This is imperative when we consider 21st century learners. They will be able to access massive amounts of information, and it is critical that we teach them the skills to select and evaluate which information is appropriate. And, after all, once they get home, they are able to watch whatever YouTube video they wish. The American Library Association says “YouTube is a social software application that could radically change how we look at library instruction and training . . . if we let it.” I would state that YouTube is a social software that could radically change all instruction, if we let it. After all, we know that today’s students are far more visual than the previous generation, and are connected to a wired world.
Learning about videosharing
As a mother of older teenagers, I have been familiar with YouTube for some time. Two years ago, when our school received projectors in every classroom, I began using YouTube, along with United Streaming (for which our district has a license) for a variety of subjects. The powerful images that were available were invaluable, especially in science and in health. Social was a bit more complicated, as most of the content is American. (I recommend using the Historica Minutes for Canadian content)
Searching for videos is one thing, creating them is another. Last year I took over our live broadcasting studio, MTV (Minchau TV). We have our morning announcements broadcast live from our TV studio every morning. My responsibility is to train announcers and technicians to man the station. Does this mean I am super-techie? No…I recruited students from our leadership team to be ‘station managers’ and THEY trained other students. Students write and produce videos for O Canada, fitness and character education, tape assemblies, and announce activities and special events. I oversee and, when there is trouble, I turn the computer on and off 🙂 . I am able to operate our videocams only because students have led me through the process.
A new technology I began using last year was the Flip video camera. Inspired by Kathy Cassidy’s blog, I was able to purchase four Flips which are available to be used by teachers. So far, we have taped Reader’s Theater, instructional videos, and storytelling. (Unfortunately, I am unable to share those videos due to FOIP restrictions.) Flip video cameras are simple to use, for grade one students, and even for me! This year, I am looking forward to using them for retelling favourite stories in kindergarten. As well, I discovered the ‘One Minute Critic’ on YouTube and am going to videotape some ‘One Minute Critic’ booktalks for our MTV broadcasts.
One new site I have played a bit with is Vodpod. Vodpod searches all video sharing sites for you using your criteria and allows you to upload, tag, share and store videos. It’s like your very own video channel. You can also create a group to share videos with, and post your videos to your blog. For example, I have shared some weather videos on my blog through the Vodpod widget, and I could share them with the grade five teachers in my school for an inquiry unit based on weather. I am still learning about Vodpod, so do not have too many videos in my collection yet. I see it as a tool I would use only when I need it for a specific unit, as in this case, creating a file of weather videos.
Videosharing in my own personal life and learning
Once again, my family has led the way for me in learning and using videosharing. I regularly watch video clips of my young nieces and nephews sent to me by my sisters-in-law. My children yell at me to come and watch this or that cool video clip. Will I videotape myself and others? Usually my videotaping is on par with my photo taking (see above post). Well, I did create a great video for Read-in this week, in which I interview ‘Fred’ from our ‘Fit with Fred’ DVDs we show at school (it’s not really Fred, but an actor friend of mine). Unfortunately, I was unable to load it today, as I forgot the wire thingy that connects it to the computer (note the highly technical language :)). So, I’ll have to take it to school and get one of my student technicians to load it for me.
Videosharing in teaching and learning
Using videosharing in the classroom is essential for our digital, 21st century learners. From the days of the filmstrip to video to DVD to YouTube, instructional videos help students visualize, see and understand the wider world. However, like teaching, videosharing can go beyond the ‘sit and get’ syndrome. Some educators are using vodcasting to create new instructional models. Aaron Samms and Jonathon Bergman, high school science teachers found a way to increase their time working with students on hands on activities. They prerecorded their daily lectures and assigned them as homework the night before. In this way, most of the learning time in class is focused on helping students with labs. They say students are learning more, and doing better.
Another way to use videosharing is to create videos that help students use assessment for learning. Our grade three students are taping themselves doing their Reader’s Theatre and then critiquing their own performance in order to improve. I regularly tape our MTV shows and we review them to see where we can get better.
Teachers can also create videos for exemplars. Here is a video of Kathy Cassidy’s grade one class demonstrating an exemplar of ‘Read to Self’ from The Daily Five.
However, I believe that the most powerful learning comes when we put the tools in the hands of students. Check out this story created by students.
Students can create and share: booktalks, digital stories, social studies projects, math tutorials, science experiments, and more. When they create and share their learning with their classmates and the world, it opens up many new possibilities for engaging, authentic teaching and learning.
Kist, W. (2010). The Socially Networked Classroom: Teaching in the New Media Age. Thousand Oaks, Ca: Corwin.
Richardson, W. (2010). Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms. Thousand Oaks, Ca: Corwin
Schaffhauser, D. (2009). The vod couple. THE Journal. Retrieved from http://thejournal.com/Articles/2009/08/09/Vodcasting.aspx?Page=1
Webb, P. (2007). YouTube and libraries: It could be a beautiful relationship. C&RL News, Vol. 68, No. 6. Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/acrl/publications/crlnews/2007/jun/youtube.cfm
Wikipedia. (2010). YouTube. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Youtube#Criticism
Wikipedia. (2010). YouTube. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Youtube
YouTube. (2010). Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/t/community_guidelines?gl=CA&hl=en
A few years ago, we bought a digital camera, at my instigation, because at least if the picture was terrible, I could delete it! Even so, with the ease of digital technology, we remain photo-illiterate. My excuse (and I’m sticking with it!) is that we LIVE the moments, rather than take pictures of them. We rarely remember to take our camera with us, and when we do, chances are we forget to take pictures! We often think of and reflect on the times we have had, but rarely do we look at the pictures we managed to take. (Oh, boy, does that ever sound reactionary! 🙂 )
On the other hand, all of my own children are digitally wired! They all bought digital cameras (right after they bought cell phones. Priorities, priorities!) and began to take pictures and upload them on to Facebook, creating album after album. My students are digital as well…and even I must admit, a picture is worth a thousand words!
Photo sharing, for me, is limited to my sisters-in-law sending me their Picassa web album updates, and I ooh and ahh over my nieces and nephew (all of whom are truly the cutest, brightest toddlers I know). My experience with working with digital pictures is the one Smilebox I created for my daughter’s graduation. My goal is to take pictures of my kindergarteners this year, and create Smileboxes for their graduation. I’m going to start taking pictures next week. Promise.
With that in mind, I joined Flickr, and uploaded a few of the digital pictures I have. I then began to research to understand how this tool could work for me in the classroom. Will Richardson talks about how Flickr is more than a photo-sharing site. He states that it has become “true social software where the contributors interact and share and learn from each other in creative and interesting ways.” (p. 100) He refers to David Jakes who lists some great ideas: annotating pictures, using pictures for writing prompts and using pictures to create virtual field trips. Jakes also has a terrific compilation of sites for using Flickr. One of the things I LOVE about these ideas is that we can use any digital image (remember, I take terrible pictures!). This leads to a lesson on copyright, and on appropriate pictures vs. inappropriate pictures.
I also liked Richardson’s idea of using Flickr for current events, although I would tend to use Dogonews with younger students. For older students, the ability to tag photos and search for images on Flickr by tagging invites many possibilities. In the grade five Weather science unit, why not have students search Flickr for a type of weather and create annotated slideshows of the phenomenon they are researching. I am also thinking of our grade 3/4 classrooms, who create digital journal entries with pictures they take in the school. Why not use Flickr and have them create journal entries about ‘found’ pictures, then comment on each other’s ideas?
On the other hand, perhaps I need to rethink my stance on taking pictures: step back, look for opportunities, and if the picture isn’t quite right, there’s always Bluebots!