Posts Tagged ‘k12online08’

Greatest Hits of 2008

Thursday, December 18th, 2008

2008 has turned out to be one of the most significant in my life.  It was a year of great loss as as well as great joy.  Although I didn’t write so much about the latter, I became engaged to my long-time girlfriend, also a teacher, in September.  And we will be beginning 2009 in a new home.

As I review the year, I thought it might be appropriate to recap some of my favorite posts from the past year.  Here are the ones I am most proud of:

  • Mr. Winkle Wakes
    Between Youtube, Teachertube, and the Spanish language Dotsub version, Mr. Winkle has been viewed approximately 18,765 times this year.  The movie my attempt to add something to the “eduporn” medium that didn’t take itself too seriously and made its point with visuals and not just text.  It was also my excuse to learn Apple’s Motion.
  • Film School for Video Podcasters
    I had a lot of fun getting to play a detective and create this how-to movie for the K12 Online Conference on making better videos in the classroom.  I enjoyed the reactions to the project and being a part of the whole K12 Online experience as a presenter and participant.
  • Classroom Mangement:  Appropriate Consequences
    This post had 42 comments, more than any other post I’ve written though most of them were more about differentiating instruction than the original topic.  The comments inspired my differentiation series.
  • The Digital Storytelling (aka Video in the Classroom Carnival)
  • I hosted seven editions this year of examples of video work from around the blogosphere.

And my three most popular posts of the year (based on Feedburner item use):

I thank you for reading and for the inspiration provided by the blogs I read on a daily basis.

Royalty Free Music and Images

Monday, November 10th, 2008

On Using Music in Video Podcasts

It’s important that the music you choose to use in your video productions matches the mood of your project. Some of the K12 Online sessions had funeral dirge music during moments of inspiration and it kind of killed the mood for me.

If you want good music you have to move beyond the built in music on your computer. It used to be extremely hard to find music you had permission to use but no more. It does take a little searching to find the perfect piece but plenty of royalty free music is now available to teachers and students.

Do be sure to credit the artists of every piece you use

Royalty Free Music Sites

Kevin Macleod
This guy has great movie music that’s easily searchable by mood and style. I don’t know how he makes a living cuz he’s giving good stuff away for free.

CC Hits Ning
Quite a few good tunes though the site is not easy to search and a little buggy when it comes to previewing songs

Podsafe Audio
good stuff, great variety

Moby Gratis
Recording artist, Moby, makes some of his discarded tunes available free to filmmakers
If you listen to the tracks, they’re mostly ambient, ephemeral pieces though I did find one I liked for my Film School for Video Podcasters project.

royalty free stuff, though I sometimes suspect some of the “public domain” material really isn’t

Jonathan Roberts
interesting stuff that I didn’t use for my last project but might use in the future

Jimmy G
I didn’t find anything that I used from here but it’s another option. Requires registration.
This site contains music and video that is supposedly in the public domain…I have found a few examples on the web site that are not in the public domain and so I’m a little bit hesitant about using some of the material in video projects.  Nevertheless, this is a great web site with tons of material.

I haven’t used this site yet, navigation is not entirely intuitive

Sound Effects/Foley

Sound Effects
great site for sound effects


Absolute Sound Effects Archive

Free Sound Project

Royalty Free Images
a free product of Tech4Learning—these are images donated for classroom use
I always start here in the classroom because there are no inappropriate images and the site is simple enough so that I have taught first graders to navigate it.

Free Images Donated by Photographers
This is my second destination when I can’t find what I’m looking for on pics4learning. They are not necessarily for educational use but are available free and taken by real photographers who are willing to share their images.

Flickr Creative Commons Images
has images taken by photographers of different abilities (amateur and professional) which you can use according to their Creative Commons license.

free images for web pages

iStock Photo – only $1 a picture
If you still can’t find what you want or are going to use your images in commercial projects, why not pay $1 per photo and use the image legally? These site has pictures of almost anything you would want.

Use the challenge of respecting copyrights as a teachable moment for students. How can we ask students not to illegally download music if we steal images?

Free Clip Art

Related Posts:

Fair Use Resources

Five Reasons Why We Aren't We Integrating Technology in School

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

I spent a couple of hours this weekend hopping in and out of the K12Online Chat Room and listening to all the reasons why we should integrate technology in the classroom.  Someone in the room proposed that if only every teacher in the world would watch just one session from the K12Online Conference, we could change the world.  I think that’s a bit of hyperbole (unless it’s my session that the teachers watch).

I’ve developed list of reasons why we’re not integrating technology in school.  At one point it was just a lady from Ireland in the chat room and myself and we talked about our respective schools.  I mentioned that I was often the only techie at my school and she said “me too.”  I told her we have a prescribed curriculum and she said “me too.”  So this list, naturally, is focused on the United States but I get the sense that it might apply other places too.

It’s not that I wish to be pessimistic.  However, unless we can come up with solutions to these problems, we’re not just going to be change the educational landscape.

  • Technology is expensive.
    The way we fund education, it is clear that education isn’t a priority.  It seems even less money makes its way to the classroom as much of it is funneled into central offices district bloat.  We can’t pay teachers enough and now we want computers in addition.  Not only is there a cost to buying computers there is also a hidden cost of tech support that districts must provide when putting computers in classrooms.
  • Technology is broken or unavailable.
  • Technology use isn’t tested.
    I’m not proposing we implement standardized computer-use testing.  However, let’s face it, if NCLB mandated such a test we’d all have computers.  As long as we want standardized test results from students we’re going to have standardized teaching that attempts to align with those tests.
  • Technology lessons often aren’t well planned.
    Student engagement isn’t enough.  I know of several great technology using teachers who are terrible teachers. They can get their computers to work during a lesson but they don’t seem to know the first thing about having a learning objective or know how to assess whether students have learned what they’re trying to teach.  The fact that students have fun is just peachy but it doesn’t justify the expense I’ve already talked about.  Technology use needs to be aligned with standards and the appropriate tool for the job—and not simply be based on the availability of particular equipment.  If you have limited equipment then you have to find a way to get that equipment to fit your lessons and not the other way around.
  • Fear of losing control.
    It’s not so much a fear of using the technology but a fear of allowing students to teach their teachers how to use that technology.  For the same reasons that teachers could never live without Xerox machines and worksheet companies stay in business, that inquiry and research, independent work time, and workshop are the least components of our prescribed curriculum, many teachers don’t want to risk giving up control to integrate technology.

Please add to my list and/or provide some solutions.

K12 Online 08 Week Two Review

Monday, November 3rd, 2008

I watched all of the presentations from Week Two that were available as movie files.  I skipped any wiki presentations and audio podcasts.  I’ve heard from other teachers who prefer the latter kind of presentation but I feel like I can see wikis and download podcasts any time.  What’s unique about the conference in my mine is the opportunity to see movie versions of teachers’ presentations.

Backchanneling in the Classroom by Scott Snyder
presentation link | Scott’s blog
This presentation was one of my favorites because the idea presented was totally new and novel to me.  Mr. Snyder has students chatting with each other on laptops at the same time that they have a class discussion in his English class.  This allows all students, even those who rarely participate orally, to participate and increase engagement.  It’s like a high tech version of pair sharing that we do in the elementary grades but better since it involves the whole class together.  He uses it also as assessment tool by examining the text of the chat at the end of class sessions. The biggest obstacles for most of us is not having enough computers for everyone and the intense classroom management.  Scott wisely included interviews with students in his presentation.  One thing I would’ve liked to have seen is the text of some of the chats perhaps intercut with the class discussion.  I wonder how it supports and enhances the regular class discussion.

Monsters in Bloom in our Wiki by Ann Oro and Anna Baralt
presentation link | Ann Oro’s blog | Anna Baralt’s blog
Teachers had second graders create monsters and then write detailed descriptions of them using adjectives.  Students at another location had to recreate the monsters using only the written descriptions reprinted on a wiki.  I liked this presentation because it was directly applicable to early elementary students, age appropriate, and not too technically difficult.  They also went out of their way to plan their project to align with Bloom’s taxonomy and higher levels of thinking and connect the technology to writing and the inclusion of sensory details.  Teachers often skip this planning piece.

Games in Education by Sylvia Martinez
presentation link | Sylvia’s blog
I’m already a fan of Sylvia’s but she did an effective job in this presentation of making the case for games by linking game playing to learning through the ages (and even in animal behavior).  At the same time she takes a hard line on traditional educational computer games which basically replicate paper flash cards on the screen and yet remain the most popular type of classroom games.  She shares LineRider a physics type game which I wasn’t familiar with and Phun, a virtual physics sandbox.  If you’re interesting in using video games in the classroom, check this out.

Changing Disabilities:  Using the MacGuyver Approach by Beth Lloyd
presentation link | Beth’s blog
I will never forget Beth’s story of a student with selective mutism who was scared of saying hello to school personnel in the hallway.  Beth recorded people like the school nurse and principal saying hello to the student on a voicethread.  By playing the voicethread for the student and having the child get used to the voices and faces of the different personalities, he was able to say hello when he saw them in the hallway.

Leverage Points for Insping Change by David Warlick
presentation link | David’s blog
There’s a reason why David keynoted the conference the past two years.  He has a charming down home personality and although I can’t say I learned anything new from his presentation, he effectively makes the case for educational change and I loved his use of Leopard’s Quicklook feature (which allows you to click on a file and press the space bar to bring up a preview), and found the twenty minutes I spent with him thoroughly enjoyable.  Stealing the show is his son’s cover version of a Ben Fold’s song, created in Garageband using overdubs of a euphonium.

Current Leadership Models are Inadequate for Disruptive Innovation by Scott McLeod
presentation link | Scott’s blog
Scott presents the ideas of Dr. Clayton Christensen’s work on Disruptive Innovations and argues that in the same way cassette tapes overtook vinyl, CD’s overtook cassettes, and mp3s overtook them all, education is on its way to be overtaken by a new model that he predicts will take over in 2019.  It’s fascinating stuff although I don’t see what in education is going to cause this disruptive innovation and undo the well established infrastructure of real estate and ideology that is thoroughly established.  The whole structure of schools needs to change and I really don’t see how the advent of the internet alone is going to facilitate that.

I thank everyone for their entries into the K12 Online Conference.  I like this model of professional development and would love to see a literacy conference, a math conference, how to help English Language Learners, etc. presented in a similar online format.  I think technology for technology’s sake may not be the answer but if we really want to change education we might have to look at the total picture.

Film School for Video Podcasters

Saturday, November 1st, 2008

My session for the K12Online Conference, Film School for Video Podcasters, is now online.  Scroll down to the bottom of the page to download for your iPod or to watch on your computer.

The sixteen minute presentation is a series of short vignettes framed by a film noir detective story in which I play the detective (of course).

The inspiration for the project was being a video judge in an internationally known technology contest and seeing the poor quality of submitted projects.  Even though the topic of the projects were very noble, the student use of the medium of filmmaking was horrendous.  What I was judging were powerpoints that moved and not movies.

I maintain that video is not the language of the twenty-first century.  It’s the language of the twentieth century and we’re just now catching up.  So, I do consider it important for teachers and students to have a basic knowledge of the language of film.  This movie is an attempt to help teachers gain that knowledge.  After sixteen minutes you won’t be an expert but I hope you will begin to think a little bit more strategically about your work with video in the classroom.

In the movie I discuss:

  • Storyboarding
    Almost everyone knows that you have to storyboard but there aren’t many models for teachers on how to storyboard.  Here I try to show you step by step.
  • Shot selection
    I talk a little bit about the meaning behind certain shots as well as how to set them up to be aesthetically appealing.
  • Equipment
    In a nod to my hero, Jim Cramer, I present Mad Moviemaking in which I answer questions on what kind of equipment to buy (because these are the questions I get most often about videomaking)

Woven in between those sections is my opinion on the importance of teaching media literacy via media production.

I plan on posting a bit more about my process of making the movie later but suffice it to say that it was a lot of work.  I welcome your feedback below.  Enjoy!