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...