Friday, February 24, 2012

Web Writing Tools for Fun and Exploration

In this Alive in Five video, "Web Writing for Fun," we learn of three web writing tools: Fodey, Figment, and MixBook. These tools vary in their functionality. Listen and watch the video, and if you check any of the sites, let us know what you think.


Alive in Five has numerous videos explaining how and why to use specific Web 2.0 tools. For instance, here are links to some:

Once you are on YouTube looking at any of the Alive in Five video, you'll find more videos in the series.  Breeze around, and let us know which of the videos you recommend.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Skyping with Alan November

Tracy Mercier tweeted out our Skype with Alan November. Later, she collected her tweets using Storify. I am embedding the Storify here to recap some of the points from the Skype. Feel free to comment.

Digital Stories Live On

Here are three more digital stories to get you thinking of ideas and how you might use digital storytelling in the classroom. All were created with PhotoStory 3.

The first was created by a 7-grade student for a social studies project. Each student in the class picked the name of an American Revolutionary War character from a hat. The student then needed to create a digital story about that person using PowerPoint, PhotoStory, or Movie Maker. The student selected PhotoStory.

The second video was created by an elementary school teacher to tell students about the life of Helen Keller based on a book they were reading about her.

The third video  was created to be used with middle school students to give them an eyewitness account of the Dust Bowl during the Great Depression. After viewing the stories, feel free to leave comments.

Do these videos give you ideas of how to integrate digital storytelling into your teaching? If so, what new ideas do you have?.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Need Examples to Pump Your Juices for Your Digital Story

Here's some help. I am posting for your convenience some digital stories completed by former EDUC 584 students. Please leave comments, and let us know what you think of the videos and if any give you ideas for your own digital story.

Here is one on using podcasting in the classroom:

Here is another one based on poetry. Here is what the students said about it: "Our group put together a digital narrative of the poem "Nappy-Headed" by Latasha A. Willis. The musical accompaniment is the song "I Am Not My Hair" by India Arie."

These examples were saved in Google as .wmv files. Use the links to access them.

A Teacher's Story You will really like this. It is all about the struggles and joys of teaching.

Shapes focuses on teaching young children about shapes, a geometry lesson for elementary school students. It is interactive and engaging, and asks students to think about shapes that surround them in their everyday world.

Tigers is a photo story about tigers and their life habits, which works well for a science lesson in a study of animals for the elementary school classroom.

Life Cycle of the Painted Butterfly This one, like the one above, works well for a science lesson on animals for the elementary school classroom.

States of Matter is a common unit of study in 3rd and 4th grade classes. Check this video if you do a unit of study on three states of matter or are looking for examples of digital stories for the science area.

13 Colonies is a social studies lesson for the upper-elementary classroom for a unit of study on the early colonies.

A Special Place, can be used in almost any grade level. It shows photographs of places that are special to the storytelling. You can then ask students to write a script for a similar story. Starting this project with the photos will help students to write their scripts.

Holocaust Memories, is for higher-level social studies class; as expected, this one is a serious review of an important event in world history. The photo story would also work well  in a unit of study of Elie Wiesel's book, Night.

What ideas about using digital storytelling across the curriculum did you get from viewing these stories?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Stuck in a Boarding School, but Liberated by Online Edcuation

Stuck in a Boarding School is a powerful blog post written by a high school senior enrolled in an online Advanced Placement US Government History course.

Image from Stuck in Boarding School post
Read this powerful blog post, Stuck in a Boarding School, and the comments following it.  Once you get to the student's blog post, you will also learn that the post is on a communal blog for students enrolled in the Online Girls School AP US Government & Politics course. Each day another student in the class posts on the blog.

Feel free to read some of the posts to find out what students are learning in the history course and what their online learning has meant to them.

There's also an About link to learn more about the school, the course, and the blog.

Later in March, we will Skype with the teacher, Mike Gwaltney, who also teaches in a regular brick-and-mortar high school in Portland, Oregon.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Easy Tutorial to Follow to Help You Get Going with Twitter

This tutorial, created by Shannon Smith, a vice principal explains in clear, simple terms and with excellent visuals how to set up a Twitter account and the very basics of using the account. I highly recommend watching the video to get you going with Twitter. Even  if you are already using Twitter, but still looking for some basic tips, this tutorial will be of value. It is one the most basic and simple ones I have found. I hope it helps. Let me know by leaving a comment.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Master Card, Priceless: Create Your Own Commercial

Jewelry by Alex
You've seen the commercials: MasterCard Priceless. Why not create your own?Challenge your creativity! Tell your story!

I've gathered some examples from students at the University of Alberta who are required to complete a MasterCard Priceless digital story as a course assignment.

Writes one student, Melissa Comte:

For my ECMP 355 class we had to create a Mastercard Priceless video and I really enjoyed making mine. I used Windows MovieMaker and it was actually quite simple to put it all together. The other day I was going through pictures on my computer from my trip to Europe in the summer of 2010. As I was going through the album, I thought those pictures would make a grate priceless video. Even though we had to pay a chunk of money to go, the memories are truly priceless. It was a trip of a lifetime. Check out my video. Hope you enjoy!

The volume on Melissa's is low, but you should be able to get the idea from the images in the video of her time abroad.

Here are a couple others to get your juices going. The volume in these should be fine.

In this one, the student tells a personal story of meeting a family member.

Here's one that took another approach, using Harry Potter to create a spoof:

Here's one final one, which you'll appreciate if you have young children, and even if you don't, you'll find the video straightforward, cute, and entertaining.

Have these students' videos given your ideas for creating your own digital story? What did you think of this class project of creating MasterCard Priceless videos?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Variety of Digital Storytelling Tools

Image: Flickr, laurensimon1
What digital storytelling tools have you used? Look through the list below, as well as think of others.

Below is list from Melissa Comte, an undergraduate education student at The University of Regina in Alberta, Canada.  I've been following her blog, and caught her Tech Task # 6  post with this list.

Melissa selected Google Search Story to try because "it is easy" and creates "a story in an interesting way." She also likes Dippity and Five Card Flickr.

Here's her Google Search Story about her dream to go to Spain and teach English classes there.

Here is a list of the digital story tools that professor, Alec Couros, offered the class:
  • Google Search Stories--easy to create stories based on Google searches
  • Flcky--generates random 5-photo stories
  • VoiceThread--group conversation tool
  • TooDoo--easy carton creator
  • Pixton--another popular cartoon creator
  • Glogster--for creating online multimedia posters
  • Wayfaring--for creating personalizes maps
  • Flickr--various ideas include 5 frame stories, 6 word stories, pictures with stories
  • Blabberize--a strange storytelling tool
  • Animoto--alternative to slide shows (sign up for the fuller-functioned Ed. account)
  • extraNormal--"if you can type, you can make movies"
  • Prezi--another slide show site, known for its zoom feature
  • Zooburst--digital pop-out books
  • Ahead--impressive zooming presentations
  • Dipidity--creative interactive timelines
  • Sketchcast--draw and record audio instantly
  • Fotobabble--creating talking photos
  • Jog the Web--create web tours
  • Bitstrips--comic maker
  • GoAnimate--make easy cartoons and animations
  • Storybird--create short, art-inspired stories
  • MapSkip--create stories around places
For more information specifically about how Google Search Story Creator can be implemented in the classroom setting, check this blog post: Tool Review: Google Search Story Creator.

Which of the tools listed above have you used? Would you recommend this tool to others? How can the tool be used to promote literacy?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Skype to Connect Students Across Class!

Click on the URL to access the sites! Let us know if you find a project of interest. How would you use Skype in your teaching?

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Alan November's TED Talk

Alan November TED talk: In this talk, November addresses what we need to do to improve student learning and make schools relevant.  His ideas will shock some.  To others, he'll make perfect sense.

Go through the talk in its entirety. It's worth the wait to hear all of provocative points. Some of the most powerful examples are in the second half of the video, but the first part provides the context. Listen to it all.

After listening to the talk, leave a comment.  What lessons do you take away from the talk? What will you most remember? With what points do you most agree? With what points do you most disagree?

For additional resources about Alan November, check these links:

Alan November on Technology and Students (Newtown High School Blog)
November Learning

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

50 Sites

As a fan of SlideShare, when I come across an excellent slide presentation there, I save it to my favorites for quick access.

Screen shot of My Favorites in SlideShare
Today, I was emailed a link to an excellent slide presentation, and once I opened it in SlideShare and viewed it, I marked it as favorite. Here it is embedded for your easy access. 50 Sites in 60 Minutes is an overview of new websites organized by categorized with direct links to the sites and a review of each site. Given these are newer sites, you might not know of many of them. All have applicability to education. Let us know which are of interest to you and why. If you check into any of the sites, let us know your reaction.

50sites ver3
View more presentations from David Kapuler

Saturday, February 4, 2012

100 Tools for Learning

Top 100 Tools for Learning 2011 You might want to go through this presentation quickly the first time, and then pour through it more slowly and jot down some notes of tools to explore.

View more presentations from Jane Hart

Top 100 Tools for Learning 2011

by Jane Hart on Nov 13, 2011, 5th Annual Survey of Learning Tools

Which of these tools do you integrate into your teaching or your own learning? How do you use them? Which tools do you want to learn? Which do you see as best promoting literacy?  

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Twitter: Move On With It

Yes, Twitter takes some adjusting. This pictorial infographic says it well.

Are you ready to start your adventures on Twitter? Have you already? If so, what stage are you at?

Here's a quick news spot about how one teacher is using Twitter in the classroom:

In this NEXT video, we learn about a middle school English teacher uses Twitter with her students and parents.

Do you believe that is about time for teachers to get on board with using Twitter? What are your concerns? What do you see as the possibilities?

Once you do get on to Twitter, use the "search box," and enter any one of the hashtag resources found in this post "20 Hottest Hastags." You will see what prominent educators are posting and discussing. Feel free to lurk for awhile using such popular educational hashtags as #edchat #engchat 6thchat #ntchat, etc.

Are you yet convinced of the power for Twitter for professional development and finding resources for teaching? You need to begin to follow educators with similar interests as well as experts in the field. What more do you want to know about Twitter as a tool for educators and professional development?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

64 Interesting Ideas for Blogging in the Classroom

Image from 64 Ideas created by Tom Barrett 

Tom Barrett (on Twitter as @tombarrett) shared this presentation, 64 Interesting Ideas for Blogging in the Classroom. There's a wealth of ideas offered in the presentation. Of the 64 ideas, which ones strike you as most inviting? Why? How can these ideas be used to promote literacy skills?