Monday, December 15, 2008

Literacy Celebration using Animoto

We are preparing for our Literacy Celebration this afternoon. The Literacy team has decided to showcase the good things happening at school in a different format. We have been "powerpointed" to death and thought Animoto would prove to be a vehicle to showcase our good news.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Nibble Worked!!!

Shared a clip today (not this one but something similar) to showcase the use of technology and how sharing information during an embedded session can be done in something other then powerpoint. I was exitced to get a knock on my door ten minutes later. Teachers came to me wanting to share their data for a presentation in a similar manner...Halleluah! They took the I cannot wait to share Animoto!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day

November 4, 2008~ Thank you Starbucks for the coffee and also the thoughts presented...
What if we all pitched in all the time..not just some of the time.....

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Debut of Student Run AM News Program

October 23, 2008~ It worked!! They all cheered, slapped high fives and then said "Awesome"! That was the response when the test run of their weeks of hard worked paid off! The televised "live to tape" morning news program worked. It started off as a morning announcements over the all call system in the morning. However, the students wanted more. "Can we do PowerPoint announcements over the television in the classrooms?" they asked..Certainly! And they proceeded to work on just that..BUT..yes, there is always something. The media specialist (who is assisting us with our endeavor) spoke up..mentioning we better make sure all TVs in the classroom are working. They weren't but at least it was a connection issue and not lets get a bunch of new television issue. In the middle of verifying all TVs in the classroom worked one of the crew said..why not put video on the PowerPoint announcements? We did..and it worked but a little cumbersome having to move from one computer station to another. You technology goes some times...We are able to connect to our broadcast system on an older Gateway that has the RCA port and our newer Dell does not. Their first attempt with the embedded video did not work because the way the student embedded the video. After a few more attempts, it finally worked. (Of course, all along our journey the students were still doing the AM announcements via the all call system while they worked out the kinks).

OK..this is where I just had to speak up..I kept quiet as they worked through their chain of events using the technology they were familiar with and understood. They never gave up and persevered after many issues and I am very proud of them!! Finally, I made one suggestion. Movie Maker. That is all it, as they have watched their final product several times they want more..Can we do it outside, can we use a map, can I wear a birthday hat when I do birthdays? uh, oh..I need to sit up straight..I cannot wait for tomorrow..yes, unfortunately due to technical difficulties there was not a production today but isn't that all part of the learning process??

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Being a student again...

October 9, 2008 ~ In my effort to diversify my certificate and continue my professional development, I am taking the first of two courses that will grant me gifted and talented certification. While I have taken (and facilited) numerous online courses, this is a course like no other. It is based out of the SC SDE and being facilited through a neighboring school district. The first day of class we were given a CD that contains the entire course. We meet F2F four days and the rest we submit via email. I guess my use of Blackboard or Moodle has spoiled me..where is the Discussion Board to for participants interact learn from our diversity? As it stands now, I only know the few that are taking the course from my school (although there are about thirty in the class) and pretty much we are working on our own. I really wish all would practice what the The Partnership 21st Century Skills are advocating for students with us...what happened to model what you expect????

Friday, September 26, 2008


Fifty People, One Question: Restored from Benjamin Reece on Vimeo.
September 26, 1008~ Perusing my reader I came across this interesting video on Libraries & Life a blog by Dr. Curtis Rogers. It was originally posted on vimeo by Benajamin Reece (the creator of the clip). What would you ask for? It does make you think..we have all had those discussions before about "What do you want out of life?" or "What is my purpose" but what about today?? What do you really want to happen today?

Now the teacher/technology coach mode kicks in..what about replicating this type of activity with middle schoolers? What would the outcome be?? Would they ask for something different? I will add this to my wish-list of things I would like to do with students and hopefully it will come to fruition.

However, for today, I want...success..I want all the students at my middle school to experience one moment of success in their life. This is what I want for today!!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Morning Announcements

September 16, 2008~We have officially begun our journey with a morning announcement team. Our goal is to be the morning news crew but we are taking it in small steps. The students met today and brainstormed on what a morning news program look like in a middle school setting. Ultimately, they would like to enlist everything but perhaps it is easiest to start slow and work up. Currently, the announcements are made via the paging system. The announcement team will continue using the paging system until the news program is up and ready. It will be a "live to tape" program, with taping on the day before. Our media center specialist has been wonderful in partnering with us and is going to share with the team the "how~-to's" on broadcasting out to the entire school. As of right now..students will be using Microsoft PowerPoint, a Logitech Web-cam and microphone to get the project running.

If you have a news program in your school, do not hesitate to contact me and share some insight. We are in a learn as you go situation and would love to hear some words of wisdom as we embark on our new journey!


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Back to School

September 2, 2008~I realize we are starting on our third week of school but I still feel as though I am paddling against the current. I have changed schools and followed the E2T2 Grant to seventh grade. The students, ELA teachers and I are thrilled to be here and are making the preparations to seemlessly integrate the technology into the seventh grade ELA curriculum. It is just that I am still unpacking, getting organized and learning the ropes of the new school. I believe once our technician gets our usernames set up and the carts deployed into the classroom, life will be jolly!!! I look forward to sharing resources such as Voicethread, Crazy Talk, Photostory 3, and Movie Maker with the teachers. We will be starting up a morning news crew and really wanting to start a Podcast but we shall see..My ELA teachers are pretty savy this year so keep your fingers crossed!!

I am always open to suggestions, if you happen to come across an emerging technology or resource for the seventh grade ELA classroom, please share...

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Finals Days of Summer

July 30, 2008~ Well, it happened...the "Welcome Back" letter officially arrived in my Inbox. In the effort to cut costs, my school choose to email first and then snail mail to those that didn't respond they had received. As much as I love my job, I am grateful there are two weeks left before the teacher/staff reporting date. This is the first summer in five years that I devoted to rest, rejuvenation and just plain "no school things". First, I was concerned and I going to be left behind in my position knowledge wise because I did not attend professional development opportunities. Well, I can attest that was not the case!!! Thank you to my PLC's that include Twitter, I was able to be updated with opportunities such as NECC and the Upstate Tech Conference. I bookmarked my favorite sites and starred my favorite blog entries.

Thank you learning networks for allowing me a summer for me and my girls! Oh, family grows from three to five very soon!! Can you hear the wedding bells!!

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Sign the Petition!

May 31, 2008~ Having just returned from the end of the year district breakfast, our Superintendent shared with us his final "soapbox" plea before his retirement. He has done a fantastic job of providing the students with a high quality educational experience with the state of South Carolina's minimally adequate funding process. So he shared with the faculty and staff what we need to do to as responsible educators:

So here is my effort to support him and the students I am bound to serve.

South Carolinians, I urge you to visit Goodbye Minimally Adequate and sign the petition. We need 1 million signatures in order to begin the process of inserting "a high quality education, allowing each student to reach his highest potential" in lieu of the "minimally adequate" verbiage that is currently in the state constitution.

Let the students, parents, Legislators, Congressmen and ultimately the nation know that SC educators have the best interest of our students in mind when embarking on their learning process.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Voting for our Video Book Talk

May 27, 2008~ Oh, my!!! We were scheduled to vote beginning this week and low and behold there was a security breach at Story Tubes.

Luckily, as of today it is again open!!! So..go vote!!!

"At the end of each week, one lucky contestant will win $500 in books. Their sponsoring organization (school, library or designated organization for home-schooled youth) will receive $1,000 in books."

Our entry is in the May 26 - June 2, 2008 - Facts, Fads and Phenoms category and it it entitled "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" and you can preview it here but you need to go to the StoryTubes 2008 National Contest Page below to vote.

Voting for this category will begin on May 26 at 12:00 a.m. EDT. And, it has been extended to June 2 to compensate for the Memorial Day holiday.

Link to Vote for the 2008 National StoryTubes Contest:

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Another Meme

May 6, 2008~I was tagged by LoonyHiker for this meme and since I can’t resist some of these and like to read what is posted by others, here is mine:
The Rules…1. The rules of the game get posted at the beginning.
2. Each player answers the questions about themselves.
3. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5-6 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read the player's blog.
4. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer.
1. What was I doing 10 years ago?
Ten years ago I was a 5th Grade teacher at the middle school in the district where I currently teach. I didn't have a computer at home or a networked computer in my classroom (which was a portable~yes, don't all the newly hired teachers get portables??).
2. What are my 5 things on my to-do list for today (not in any particular order:
1) Take daughter shopping for shoes (yes, dance is Friday night and we still don't have the right shoes and it is all my fault!).
2) Dinner Date (after the go w/their dad and I "get" an adult dinner! LOL)
3) PACT preparation
4) Class preparation for this afternoon's Boot Camp for Teachers
5) Clean out inbox!
3. Snacks I enjoy…
Yogurt, strawberries, almonds, pretzels..not necessarily together....
4. Things I would do if I were a billionaire
~start a soccer scholarship program for club ball so anyone can play travel soccer
~Go on a cruise with my ENTIRE EXTENDED family (and their friends) every summer
~Buy a weekend convertible (and a gas company!)
5. Three of my bad habits (thank goodness I could stop at 3!):
~procrastination, inability to say "no", always loosing my keys...
6. 5 places I have lived: (I only have two..lucky I guess..since I am a military brat!)
Isle of Palms, SC (born there)
Columbia, SC (live now)
7. 5 jobs I have had:
~ Red and White Grocery Store
~ McDonald's
~ Wal~Mart (who hasn't?)
~ Bank Teller/CSR/Lender
~ Teacher
8. 6 people I want to know more about, because I'm just that nosey. (but I could think of 3 and I need to go back to the PACT room before they come looking for me!):
Lisa Conrath: Media Messenger
Cathy Wilson: Wilson Words
Stephanie Nelson: Nelson Notes

Friday, April 25, 2008

StoryTubes Book Talk Contest

April 25, 2008~ View one of our entries in the contest under the Facts, Fads and Phenoms. We will let you know how things progress and when the online voting starts and where to go to vote. Hopeully we will make it that far!!!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Pay Attention!

April 23, 2008~This video was shared with participants in a session during SCETV Technology Workshops. It just seem to strike a chord with me and the way our students learn and the tools we as educators need to be using.

However, it leads me back to my argument with the district filtering rules. Yes, we need to be engaging our students and using the tools they are already using everyday in their non-school lives...How, oh, how am I supposed to meet the needs of my teachers and students if I am not able to access the necessary tools?

Any others having issues with Web 2.0 tools being blocked? How do you convince the powers-that-be to allow access?

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

What Do You Consider Technology?

April 8, 2008~ Being a quiet day, I was able to catch up on some of my personal professional development. Having stopped by Craig Nansen's Ustream of their state technology leader's meeting with Dr. Richard Van Eck, UND Pedagogy for the New Millennium and Steve Dembo's UStream, thoughts started floating in my head. One of the speakers mentioned the question of what is technology and how different generations view different things. My grandparents thought the radio was technology, my parents thought the color television was technology and I grew up thinking CD's were technology. The American Heritage Science Dictionary defines technology as "The use of scientific knowledge to solve practical problems". So with the advent of generational changes radio, television, CD's, ipods, Web 2.O why is it taking so long for our teaching practices to change. To quote an audience member in Steve Dembo's UStream this morning, "you wouldn't want to go to a doctor today that is still practicing medicine the same way he did 20 years ago, then why would you let your child's teacher teach the same way teachers taught 20 years ago?"

As a technology coach, I have actually heard most of the excuses for not using technology in the classroom. We have all heard it..classroom management issues, technology networking issues, Internet safety issues and the list goes on and on...But I am here to tell you...the good of the technology so tremendously outweighs the "issues". Let me help you deal with those issues..I promise it will make your teaching life a lot better in the long we will hit a few road blocks along the way but isn't that what teaching and learning is all about? So for me technology is anything that helps me do my job better and that job is helping the teachers help the students succeed. So..if it includes You Tube, Instant Messaging or Webcams..come on tech up those filter gates!!

Image: Technology Then & Now

Friday, April 4, 2008

Book Talk Video Contest

April 4, 2008~ Talk about surpassing my expectations! The Literacy Coach and I put our flyers stating we would assist any students interested in participating in the StoryTubes Video Book Talk Contest and to bring their lunch to a "lunch and learn" mini-session. We expected a few students based on our hall conversations with kids. To our pleasant surprise, we had 25 students come to have lunch with us. Keep in mind that due to our current class schedule, students will have to give up their recess to work on their projects. Amazingly, that wasn't an issue. They are anxious to get started and I look forward to helping them create, edit and publish their book talks...students have already started the planning process with scripts. It was great to see the excitement swell as soon as we announced the details, you could hear the chatter as they began brainstorming on how they would put together their book talks.

I cannot wait to share our final products. Even if they don't make it to the finals and the voting process, they will still have shared some great books and increased their technology abilities. Isn't that what true learning is supposed to do???

Monday, March 24, 2008

Turning the Lights on at School

March 24, 2008~ Marc Prensky’s article in March 2008 edition of Educational Leadership entitled "Turning on the Lights" struck a chord with me. It seems that is my mantra whenever I was in a job interview or if someone asked me what I love about my job. The question usually goes something like this: “What do you see as the best part of being a teacher/educator?” and my reply was/is “Because I enjoy seeing the light bulb click on when the students finally “get” a concept for the first time”. Thanks to Prensky’s article my mantra has a new meaning.

As a technology coach and mother of two digital natives, I have long been an active technology user in my professional and personal life. My oldest communicates with her peers via, text, blogs, MySpace, etc. Just imagine the impact if her teachers could use these same type of tools to connect to a classroom on the other side of the globe! Eighth grade students in South Carolina take South Carolina history. Why not have them communicate with eighth grade students in another state and have them share this historical knowledge? I overheard a very entertaining conversation as my daughter (native of SC) chatted with her cousin (native of NY) in which the NY native had actually been taught information regarding SC that was a bit misconstrued. Why not learn from the “experts” rather then a textbook??? Besides, in the real world isn’t that what we do as professionals? We do our research via our technology tools prior to our presentations, workshops, projects, etc.

So, yes, a resounding YES! Let us all “Turn the lights on” at school!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

"You Can Get Anywhere from Here"

March 21, 2008~ I have found it! I came across TokBox when I was exploring Tom McGee's Twitter responses to Steve Dembo's Twitterpoll: Where else is your network besides here? This appears to be the vehicle I have been looking to use. We have been funded (by Donor's Choose) for a webcam for a collaboration project entitled "You Can Get Anywhere from Here". Unfortunately, there was a snafu in shipping and I was sent a "nanny cam". A few year's late as my children are older and in school, I sent it back and currently waiting on my new camera to arrive. However, in my proposal, it never occurred to me (prior to TokBox) that I would have conflicts using my web-cam until I sat in on a session where they stated they used Instant Messaging software to communicate with other classrooms. Uh, can't do that in my district as it is blocked. However, with TokBox it apprears my issues of being blocked have been dispelled.

I am looking forward to communicating and collaborating with other classes and welcome users of TokBox to share their insight.

Oh, and yes, email me if you are interested in collaborating. I have four sixth grade teachers that teach four ELA classes a day that would be interested in sharing!

Get your own TokBox at

Friday, February 29, 2008

E2T2 Online Parenting Session

If you missed the face to face session, we are hosting a repeat session online. It will be today at 11:00 AM. You can access it here or at our school website.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Blogging for Me

February 25, 2008 This blog began as class assignment but has grown into something so much bigger. Even though the class is ending, this blog will continue. It has afforded me the opportunity to network with my colleagues and peers on a variety of subjects. Blogging has also allowed me to share my experiences in classroom situations that others may learn from my mistakes. Why reinvent the wheel or start from scratch when learning from other's mistakes can be enlightening while at the same time being quite humorous. I look forward to learning and growing in the field of blogging.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Safety on Web and 2.0

February 25, 2008~ Safety on the Internet is always a high priority in my life. This is not just because I am a Technology Coach responsible for teachers and students at my school but I am also a mother of two girls. One of which has already embarked on the journey of the MySpace venue and the other in which is happy being online with her WebKinz. I have instilled in both the girls (as well as the students I come in contact with at school) to use precautions while online and in everyday life. But honestly, this is not enough in today's society. Yes, I too have a MySpace so I can keep track of my older one and have even had to have conversations regarding content, pictures, and comments she has posted and received. And YES, we have even had to delete some school friends because of what they had posted and whom they had allowed to be their friends.
Alas, this is at home and how does this apply to me at school?? Well, the onset of Web 2.0 and its many different tools allows an open door to similar situations. Students have access to a variety programs that give them similar situations. It is my duty as an educator to ensure their safety. Many of the Web 2.0 tools are set up so teachers can set up a class account thereby not allowing students access to anyone not deem necessary (i.e. not on the class roster). This provides a great training ground for real-world applications their will use upon leaving the educational setting. A few of the tools we are currently and are preparing to use include Moodle for our book club, Voicethreads, and I am looking into blogging and Wiki's with my classes as well. Having the students in the safe-gate keeping programs will allow them to explore in the safety of the educational environment.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Podcasting (or should it be titled "Authentic Learning"?)

February 14, 2008~I have created a few podcasts and listened to many, taken the SCOPD online course on Podcasting, attended workshops given by Tony Vincent on podcasting and LOVE it. My question, comment, concern is how to I get teachers to buy in and want to either have their students do podcasts or at the very least record a class and allow me to produce a podcast from their lesson. They all have their iPods and MP3 players but haven't converted to using them in the classroom. Students listen, sync, and download all the time at home, how do I assist teachers in learning the value of them in the classroom?

The potential for podcasting, as well as a lot of the other technology vehicles available, provides the students the ability to create their own learning. Is it because teachers are afraid they will loose control of the classroom if they are not in control of the classroom? Aren't we supposed to step back and guide the learning process in order for the students to learn? I mean truly learn not the recurgitate back facts learning. I guess what I am not seeing enough of with the use of technology is authentic learning.

So my question posed for everyone is how to I change the tide? How do I get teachers as a hole to see the authenticity with technology? I can share lessons, provide software and hardware training but not seeing a big change. Yes, I have my few that are producing Photostory projects from their mythology tales and seeing results with the use of Moodle and book clubs but I WANT more for ALL OF MY students. I want live news broadcasts, podcast book reviews, Sketchy's on how the water cycle works, Crazy Talking with their mammal it too much to ask or am I just being impatient???

Friday, February 8, 2008

"My Eyes Hurt From Reading...."

January 8, 2008~Posted one reluctant reader yesterday afternoon on our newly established Moodle Book Club. I arrived at home to quickly check my email and was astounded at the posts to our Moodle site. The students had posted over 30 comments in less three hours. Comments included predictions as to what would happen next and included one student taking the lead and posting what he like best and wanted others to share their best part of the book. Amazing! Considering these students are the ones that do not like to participate in reading during their regular ELA class and the fact they had only had the book for a couple of hours. I wanted to phone the Literacy Coach (Mary Beth Thomas) but decided against it. Let her also revel in the pleasure of discovering the students posts and the caliber of the questioning that was being developed. That she did..I received a phone call while at my daughter's soccer practice that started something like this..."Robin, have you seen the Moodle Board??" At that moment I just grinned and new we were on to something very big for our students.

Questions for me include, why didn't we do this earlier in the year and what book are we going to use next time...Oh, and their will be a next time I can assure you. However, right now my eyes are hurting from reading all their wonderful posts!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Moodling Around with Book Clubs

February 7, 2008~ We had our initial meeting today. The book club is a group of sixth grade students, the Technology Coach and the Literacy Coach. The book we will be using for the dicsussion is Stormbreakers and Moodle will be our means of sharing. Things went well until I discovered, while we were walking through the logging in process with Moodle, that there was no "reply" button on our discussion board for the students. It is fixed now and the students were extrememely patient having to watch the steps on how to post, etc from my log-in instead of getting to post today. Oh, well, I guess on Tuesday we will have our Book Club Cafe with muffins to make-up for my mistake of not giving them the correct permissions. I know better and should have set up a "false account" to make sure all was working. Live and learn and do better next time!

Anyone else facilitate book clubs via moodle or another type of message/discussion board? I would love to hear how things went in order to make the experience for our students a much richer learning session.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Wiki Ideas

February 5, 2008~ On the left is a Gcast that gives more information on Wiki's and their uses. I found it very helpful and even a few ideas.

One idea included working with a 6th grade ELA teacher and class that has been toying with the idea of doing ePals, she was concerned we couldn't get email addresses set up for them (that is a whole other can of worms I am not willing to tackle at this time..perhaps sometime in the future). However, what if the two collaborating teachers set up a Wiki and the classes could connect via the Wiki instead of email or snail mail. Having no classroom Wiki experience I have used them the professionally (we have a computer services Wiki that is gated for us to use rather then storing the info on a network drive and having to be worried about being logged in a certain way), I am not certain as to management strategies, ideas or hints that may prove useful for the teachers. If anyone else has strategies they would like to share please send them my way..I am always looking to expand our technology usage in the classroom.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

What I have learned regarding Blogging (and reading them)

January 31, 2008~ I have learned there is not enough hours in the day. I am thoroughly enjoying all the information out there on the blogs but just realized I have spent the better part of my day getting "lost" in the world of blogs and rss feeds. I read and come across an interesting topic, software, strategy and then want to practice with that idea so as to try to incorporate it into my classrooms. However, I need to perhaps schedule my time better. Although reading, learning, and exploring are part of my job description, getting off my schedule and almost missing a class is a bad thing. I do believe, however, this will be resolved once I get my rss feeds organized and up to date. Until then, I may set my calendar appointments to remind me five minutes before so I will not miss anything.....

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Preview, Preview, Preview

January 30, 2008~The teacher walks in the door and smiles. She says to me "I used United Streaming today!". Excited for her, I asked how it went and how did the students seemed to respond. Her grin gets a little sheepish as she replies, "Well, I learned not to forget to preview it next time". Why you ask?? The content was a social studies unit on Greece and the video covered the Greek Olympics. Need I say more??

We know our students and what is appropriate for their ages and content. While the content was labeled for grades 6-8 and covered ancient Greece and it was depicted in statues and is better to always view a head of time. Something, I was even guilty of doing (or not doing) once with a Rainforest Video that included a section on Aboriginal life and a mother nursing a child. Nothing vulgar but explaining to a 5th or 6th grader the process is something I would rather leave up to their parents.

Live Blogging

January 29, 2008~ Thanks to Bill Gaskin's Blog Blogging on the Bay, I discovered Live Blogging from Cover It Live. This will be a great tool to use in a variety of ways. In the past, when I have participated in Teacher Research Experiences and wanted to converse with students while on location it was impossible (other then cell phones). Cover It Live allows you to upload photos, videos, and submit polls for communication with other participants. I also find it interesting to use with sporting events. If I am even inclined to be at my daughter's JV game with my laptop and wanted to share the game events with family as it occurs, Live Blogging would allow me to do this...Yes, I am that crazy about soccer! The best part of this is that it is FREE!!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Web 2.0 Class

January 24, 2008~As I embark on the journey of the Web 2.0 class, the Internet and its uses never stop amazing me. Animoto, Google Docs, Blogging..why do we even use pencils? Students can have class and respond using various tools and never touch a piece of paper. I would love to have a classroom with no pencils or papers...Synchroneyes has quiz wizard, SMART has senteos, Blogs, moodle....the possiblities are endless...Now..the job is to assist those teachers that are not at the technology comfort level to use the web and its tools. I keep thinking about the video clip posted on my December 10th posting and how it is our job to assist the students in the "new age" of technology.

I have used several techniques to assist my teachers in attempting to cross the digital divide and would love to hear others as they experienced the trasformation with their teachers as they crossed over...

Monday, January 14, 2008

Crazy Talk Training Session

What an exciting session!!! CrazyTalk creating animated talking messages from any still digital image or digital photo. Imagine what can be done in the classroom with this software! Students can create talking monuments, animate animals actually making speeches, etc. I plan on meeting with my principal and instructional technology coordinator about aquiring several stations of this software.

The ideas are endless and would appreciate comments from those that have used the software in an educational setting.

Friday, January 4, 2008

“Focus on the Media Interaction”

Long gone are the days of popping in a video in the classroom for an extended period of time and calling it classroom instruction. To effectively integrate technology into the classroom whether it be a video, DVD, or a unitedstreamng tool, the buzz term is “Focus on the Media Interaction”. But what does that really look in the actual classroom. Using the snippets to jump start a lesson, watching a “Cyberchase” video and stopping, starting with intentional conversations that have students predicting the outcome of the scene, hypothesizing about a scenario or verifying responses to already posed questions are great examples of how to effectively use the video/dvd medium. Students watch on average 1680 minutes of television per week (Herr, California State). Imagine if they spent that same amount of time reading or having meaningful conversations with peers and other adults.
With Unitedstreaming, there are teacher guides that give you sample questions to use during your media interaction lessons. There are teacher guides available for almost all dvd's and video's in the classroom and if there is not one available then it is our job as educators to make certain we are effectively creating intentional conversations and dialogues for use with this type of medium.

Thursday, January 3, 2008


What a simple and easy way to create a video. Now, mind you, it doesn't allow you to have all that wonderful editing experience that comes with timing and such (who doesn't love that!) but it does allow you to create professional looking videos in a fraction of the time. Basically, you upload your pictures and select (if there are any) pictures you want to accent, choose your music or upload your own music (with permission to use if not your own creation) and then click of a button it finalizes. Shortly after you receive an email saying your video is ready. You cannot download the free 30 second clips that you can create without limitation but for a minimal yearly fee you get unlimited access. Try it..certainly beats the week I spent trying to do one on my own and it still looks like it was done by a third grader...