Multimedia Creation in the Classroom

In his book Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Wed Tools for Classrooms, Will Richardson has a chapter about Podcasting, video, and screencasting, and live streaming. Although the book is obvious a few years old, published in 2008, Will still has some good ideas about how to integrate technology in the classroom.  Will mostly talks about how to create these things and how the world but specifically how schools are using them. While I was reading I was thinking of ways I could use these things in my future classroom. I think I would start the kids off with a podcast. I would have them choose anything they want to talk about to create a podcast on. We could have a day of sharing and listening to each other’s podcasts. Once they have mastered podcast I would move to videos. I would love to have the students pick a book they have read in class and create a preview for it. Book Trailers for readers is a great site that allows students to create their own book trailers and post and shares them for others to see. Other sites that students could share their work to are youtubeteachertube  (similar to Youtube, but designed for teachers) and schooltube (another educational video website). I would love for students to post them online and then have them follow the video for the next few weeks so they can see how many views and likes they get. Doing this in the classroom would help fulfill many of the ISTE standards for the class such as creativity, informational fluency, and collaboration.

Other fun things that could be integrated into the classroom are digital storytelling: storycenter , digitalstorytelling and Or you could do fun mutimeda things with your class on theses sites: goanimate (Web 2.0 cartoon generator), powtoon (another fast & quick way to make animated videos) and vine (allows for 6 second looping videos).


2.0 World

In recent years, our world has switched from a web 1.0 to a web 2.0. In our old wed 1.0 world the internet was a system of one-way communication. In the old wed we received information but didn’t put any out. The wed communicated only in one direction. Now, however, the web has expanded and everyone no matter who you are can send and receive things through the internet. Anyone can create and post and share whatever they want. The system has changed to a 2-way communication, we revive information but we also crest and share our own. The most recognizable would be social media such as facebook, twitter or Instagram. People post things and people read things through those sites. However, there are so many other sites that are wed 2.0 that people probably don’t know about. They are full of fun and creative ways to express yourself and share your ideas with the world from silly games to serious topics there is always a place to express yourself online. 

One site where you can do just that is Scratch. Scratch is a site where you can create your own videos, some of them interactive and other simply to watch. The videos are all animation and pretty short. A person using the site can not only create their own videos but also watch other peoples and comment on them. You can also see how the person made the video if you liked their ideas and want to incorporate them into your own video. Having a student use this site would be very beneficial in the classroom. Working through the site and having students create their own video would fit at least four of the ISTE Standards. The sight challenges kids to think critically and problem solve their way to creating a video. The site also promotes being a good digital citizen and would help students grow in understating of how to use technology. I would definitely say that this site is for higher elementary to middle school and older students. The site requires an understanding of how all the pieces fit together to create the video and there are a lot of things that go into it. I feel that it could be very confusing and overwhelming to younger students. However, the site is very good about having so many options. It’s pretty easy to create a basic video but the site also allows you to get super complicated with the designs. This helps to allow a wide range of people to access and use the site.

Big Huge Labs is another 2.0 website. This site allows you to create posters, magazine covers, trading cards, etc. The site allows you to alter and play with images to create these things. This site would also encourage creativity and problem solving for students.  The site allows teachers to set up their own account that they can link students to. This helps to protect the students and makes it easy for the teacher to access and view students work. The site is pretty easy to navigate and doesn’t have too many options as to overwhelm someone. I think that elementary students would be able to navigate the site and create their own art and projects using it. 

Another web 2.0 site that is great for teachers is Socrative. Socrative is a site that allows teachers to create quizzes or games or even exit tickets for their students. Students can access the site from any device including phones. This makes it easy for teachers to have student’s access the site. This site could fulfill standard number two for the ISTE Standards because the teacher can see all the students’ results and share with the class. The students can see how they did individually and as a group. The site is very easy to use and navigate making it easy for teachers and students. And because the teacher controls what the quizzes and things are it can be used for any age range. 

These are just three of many good 2.0 sites that are available for teachers and students to use to help in the classroom. There are always new sites being made and discovered. Thanks to the internet there are so many good ideas of ways to help in the classroom that there is no possible way to discover them all. 


Super Digital Citizens

In Super Digital Citizen video, Mr. Pane is teaching his fifth graders about “how to be a good digital citizen and being able to evaluate when you go to websites what kind of information they might be after.” Mr. Pane does a very good job of making the lesson fun and relevant to his class. He starts with a quote from Spiderman which most of the class recognizes. This immediately grabs the kid’s attention and makes them more interested in the lesson. He discusses with his class what a digital citizen is, “a person who chooses to act safely, respectfully, and with responsibility whenever you are online.” He then asks for examples of how you can be a good digital citizen based off of their definition, this then leads into the activity. Mr. Pane is having his class create comic strips with digital superheroes who will save the day. The class has a fun time creating their superheroes and then having to put them into an imagined situation where they help solve a digital dilemma. Mr. Pane has his class create real life satiations of people not being good digital citizens and therefore needing a superhero to help them. Some of the digital dilemmas the kids superheroes face are stopping people who were gossiping online and stopping someone from putting personal information online. At the end of the activity, Mr. Pane had his class do a gallery walk; they went around and read their classmates comics. This gave the kids more ideas about what it means to be a good digital citizen and how it can affect them. I think gallery walks would be very important in a classroom. They get the kids up and moving around, they get to see other people’s ideas and perhaps have ah ha moments from them where they receive new insights from their classmate’s thoughts and work. This also gives the kids the opportunity to share their work and impress their friends. I will definitely have gallery walks in my classroom one day and perhaps even have them create digital superheroes!

Copyright 101

In our world, we have so much information at our fingertips because of the internet. We, however, do not have free reign over it. Anything posted on the internet is someone’s thoughts and feelings. What a person post is theirs personally and because they own it they are protected by copyright laws. This term is used a lot in our world. When most people think of copyright they might think of citing sources or giving credit where it is due. Most people probably don’t know that this extends past the written word, Videos and pictures are also protected by copyright laws. Most people probably also don’t know how many copies is legal for them to make, or how many lines they are allowed to use, or the time limit set on how long they can use that martial. Learning theses things is important because you can get in serious trouble over copyrighting. Even though you may think that it’s no big deal or that it’s for a good cause it’s still illegal and you could face serious changes over it.

So what is copyright? First, we must understand that copyright protects everything whether or not you can find or see the copyright symbol, ©. “Material is automatically protected by copyright as soon as it is put into tangible form—for example, when it is written on paper, saved to disk, recorded on tape, or painted on canvas” (Simpson). No matter the form of material or information as soon as it comes into existence, it is owned by its creator and protected by copyright. The only thing not protected by copyright are facts, however, the way a person chooses to present those facts is protected by copyright. Copyright last until 70 years after the author’s death, so just because something is old doesn’t mean it’s no longer protected. Schools are some of the few groups that have “limited exemptions—known as fair use—to copyright requirements, but the exemptions are for materials used strictly for educational purposes. The exemptions may also be limited in scope, pertaining to only a portion of the material the teacher might wish to use” (Simpson). Schools still have many guidelines that they must follow, however.

Because there are so many rules and guidelines for copyright it is hard to remember what exactly you can and can’t do. To make it easier the four tests of fair use were created. If you pass then you can use the information without fear of getting in trouble if not then you’re probably breaking copyright laws. Number one: what is your purpose for the material? Is it for non-commercial, nonprofit uses in the classroom (remember you can’t make any money off of the material, even if it’s for a good cause)? If yes then move to number two, you’re doing good so far! Number two: what is it that you are copying? Is the material published or unpublished? If it’s unpublished it is more protected and should probably be avoided. Is the material fact or fiction? Remember facts are the only thing not protected by copyright, but the ways the facts are presented are protected. Number three: how much of the work are you taking/using? The more you copy and use the less likely it’s legal. Number four: how will you taking this material affect the value of the work? Are you depriving the owner of sales because of the material your taking? If so then you’re probably breaking copyright law.

While the four tests of fair use are a great start they don’t cover everything. Medium matters are another thing teachers need to consider when using materials. Most materials have different laws that protect them and teachers need to be aware of what kinds of materials they can use and how. When it comes to print materials (articles, maps, charts or chapters) teachers can keep a single copy for themselves and they can make one copy per student they have in their class but they can only do this once. There may also be a time limit for how long from when they got there copy to when they can’t use it anymore. Teachers can, however, get permission to use materials more than once and for longer time periods. Audiotapes and videotapes can be used in the classroom but only if they directly relate to the lesson. A teacher is not allowed to play things during free time or when it has no relation to what is being taught. Teachers who don’t have face-to-face classes need to be careful, they are not allowed to use “video, film or plays in distance-learning courses” (Simpson). Teachers can use materials created by students or other teachers only if they get permission from the creator and as long as the material has properly sighted everything.

Going through these guidelines will help you think more about if what you’re doing is stealing or if you’re in the clear. It’s important that we as educators respect theses laws, after all, we are trying to teach kids to follow these laws and we don’t want to be bad examples.

Presentation Principles and Techniques

In 2012, Garr Reynolds wrote a book called Presentation Design:  Principles and Techniques. In his book, he gives readers tips and advice on how to make better presentations that will keep its audience’s attention. When most people create power point presentations they use lots of bullet points and try to get lots of information on the slide. Reyolds says that this is not the way to do it.  Instead, he suggests using bullet points only when there is no other option. Then he tells what the other options are.  First, don’t try to cram information on there and don’t use charts that are unnecessary. This makes your power point took cluttered and your audience will not even know what all of it says or is for. Reynolds says to use pictures that take up the whole screen then add just you main topic to it. This will grab the audience’s attention and keep them much more interested and listening to what you are saying. Reynolds says to do this even with quotes, get a picture that fills the whole screen and put the quote on top. One thing that I hadn’t thought of that Reynolds say to do is if you have a slide with say six points on it instead break it up into six slides. Get a big eye catching photo for each and add a few words that summarize the point. Another thing that I thought was a great idea is to use your images to guide the view around the page. If you have your statistic in the upper left hand corner get a picture of people looking up at the corner. This will help your audience when they are looking at the page; it keeps their attention where the speaker wants it.  Next Reynolds brings up the point of keeping your sides balanced; don’t have everything over on one side. He also brings up using the “rule of thirds” meaning don’t have everything right in the middle of the frame, it makes it uninteresting. Instead if you imagine putting a grid on top of your slide that is a three by three, your information and pictures should be right where the squares intersect, not out in the middle.

Keeping all of this in mind when creating a PowerPoint or any presentation is important. Doing these things will help keep your audience interested but it will also help them retain the information because instead of them worrying about reading the slides and built points and talking notes they are simply giving their full attention to the speaker. This is most important in schools; teachers don’t make power points this way. Instead they put lots of information on them and expect kids to be writing down not just what is on the slides but also what they are saying out loud which some times can be very different information. This splits the student’s concentration and leaves them frazzled and having learned nothing. Teachers should instead incorporate Reynolds ideas into their presentations. Then way students would be able to better concentrate, learn and retain the information taught to them.   

True or Not??

What does it mean to be information literate? Debbie Abilock is a co-founder of noodle-tools and coauthor of the book, Growing Schools: Librarians as Professional Developers. In 2012, she wrote an article called, How can students know whether the information they find online is True-or Not? in this article she provides a basic layout for how to decide whether a person should trust an article they found online or not. In her article, she breaks it down to four main things. Number one: Author, what makes this author credible? Before anyone should take information from the internet as 100% fact, they should do a little research on the author. Find out if they have any biases on the topic that could have changed how the piece was written. See who the author is affiliated with and if they are written other things that have been reliable. For example, in this blog post, we are talking about Debbie Abilock and her article. I took the liberty of adding in a little bit of information about her and then linking her bio and the website she is affiliated with so that my readers can look up more information about her. Because of all her experience and the groups, she is affiliated with it’s a pretty good assumption that her information will be helpful and mostly accurate.  Two: currency, how old is the source type?  If the source of information you are using is ten years old it might be a good idea to find something a little more up to date. Debbie Abilock’s article was published in 2012. Although it is a few years old the information provided still seems to be accurate and helpful for our time period. Our world of internet and research hasn’t changed enough in the past few years that we would need to find a new article to read.

Number three: subject, how through is the coverage of the topic? Does the author go in depth and really provide a lot of information, statics, fact, and examples or do they just give a general description? With more information in the article comes more research from the writer and more research from the writer means more accurate and reliable information for the reader. Finally number four: Balance, is the coverage biased in any way? I brought this up when talking about researching the author, good information will be as biased free as possible. The author just presents the case and adds as little information with their own opinion as possible. This is what it means to be information literate. To be able to know what sources are reliable and what are not. When you can use these four tips to properly vet a site, you are choosing to be information literate. You want to make sure the information you are using is reliable and true, this can be done using the four steps above. 

One thing that is very important is to teach young generations how to be information literate and how to use the four steps to do just that. In our modern age children are using the internet and new technology on a daily basis. We, as not just educators but as a country, need to teach our youth how to properly use the internet and glean the information they actually need. This can be done starting in elementary school when students have to do their “fourth-grade assignment on the ocean”, teachers can make part of their assignment to use the four tips up top on one of their sources. Doing this will help students think more about their sources and about the internet as a whole. It will help children realize at a young age that not everything on the internet is true. As the students reach middle school they are more than capable of doing research on their own and finding out if a source is reliable. Teachers need to incorporate the four steps or something similar into their assignments that way the ideas can be reinforced and students can truly become informational literal. By the time students get to high school and college, they should be more than able to find good reliable sources and be able to call themselves information literate. This is how we can create a generation of informational literate people

Digital Native vs. Immigrant

In Recent discussions of technology use, a controversial issue has been whether calling young generations digital natives and everyone else digital immigrants, would be accurate. On the one hand, some argue that because new generations have grown up with technology and don’t know what the world is like without technology, that this has changed how they as humans process, interact and use information. The result is that the new generations communicate drastically different than previous generations. These generations are now being called digital natives because they grew up in technology. This means that everyone who isn’t a “digital Native” is a digital immigrant. From this perspective, everyone who was born before 1980 must always have trouble with technology because they are immigrants. This also means that everyone born after 1980 must be a digital wiz, never have trouble with technology because they have been “re-wired for it”. On the other hand, however, others argue that we can’t define people this way because not everyone born after 1980 knows everything about technology and the internet. To say that would be just as absurd as the say that everyone born before 1980 knows almost nothing about technology. In fact, the people who created most of the technology that is most present in our lives today were born before 1980. It’s also ridicules to say that everyone born after 1980 know their way around technology really well. This view points out that not all children and people born after 1980 have had an equal opportunity to learn about technology. While some kids do grow up surrounded by it in their house and school, other families and schools can’t afford to have iPads or computers for everyone. In sum then, the issue is whether to categorize people as either a digital native or immigrant is a good idea, or if its ridicules to assume that everyone fits into one of the two categories, especially based off of age.

My own view is that we should not have these categories or subjugate people to being one or the other simply because of their age. Everyone learns differently and has different interests. No two people’s experience with technology will be exactly the same. Though I concede that a lot of people born after 1980 have grown up with social media and Google and it has changed our culture but just because someone born after 1980 has a Facebook it doesn’t mean they know how to create computer code. I still maintain that not everyone is alike when it comes to their technical experiences. There are many people born before 1980 that have higher internet presence than people born after 1980.

Introductory Consepts

In recent discussions of technology in the classroom, a controversial issue has been whether we need more or less technology in the classrooms. On the one hand, some argue that we are not doing enough to integrate technology into the classroom and because of that children are losing valuable learning opportunities. From this perspective, we need to do all we can to get kids to not be bored in school and we can do that by having more technology based lessons. Giving children an opportunity to learn how to use the tools they have available at their fingertips and not just how to play video games but how to grow their minds and love doing it. Marc Prensky wrote a very intriguing article called Turning on the Lights. In the article, he talks about how he feels that schools have been left behind in the dark compared to our current technology and century.  He says that schools need to embrace our new world and find ways to get technology into our classroom to help students not be so board. Kids can learn so much on their own thanks to the internet and very child has things they would love to learn about. Marc proposes that we find a way to get kids to be able to use technology in the classroom to learn what they are interested in. things that are more relevant to them and the current time.  “Teachers would no longer be the providers of information but instead, would be the explainers, the context providers, the meaning makers, and the evaluators of information that kids find on their own.”

On the other hand, however, some argue that while technology is helpful and important we can’t forgo old technology, such as pencil and paper. According to this view, we can’t let our excitement about technology take over and lead us to do unhelpful and useless things with the technology. From this view, it’s not as important what tool is used as long as it is for a purpose. Mary Beth Hertz talks more about this in her article The Right Technology May Be a Pencil. In the article, The use and abuse of technology in the classroom by Kathy Cassidy, Kathy gives a list of how she think technology is being used in a good way and how it should be used vs how it’s used in a bad way and how it should not be used in the classroom.  Kathy and Mary both like technology but don’t want to see it abused and overused unnecessarily in the classroom. They believe that pencil and paper will never go out of style. In sum then the issue is whether or not the education system is embracing and using technology enough or if they are starting to rely on it a little too much and need to keep paper and pencil around.

My own view is that technology is going nowhere but up and educators need to jump on the bandwagon or get left behind. Throughout the next century technology is just going to keep growing and increasing. Almost everyone will have access to it so why not uses it to your befit; allow technology to help in the classroom. While yes I concede that there is definitely a way to go too far overboard. We don’t want to completely forget about and move past paper and pencil and painting with real paint that gets you messy and dirty. For that is an important thing to learn and there are many things that don’t need to be taught using technology but instead need hands-on learning. However, I still maintain that educators need to find ways to integrate technology into their classroom instead of pretending it doesn’t exist because it does and it can do so much for you. For example, the Mabry. Mabry is like the Oscars but for students and their 2-3 minute films made in class. Kids get excited about making videos and then getting to submit them to Mabry where they are judged and awarded appropriately.  Although some might object that this is a waste of class time I would reply that this is a good way to use technology in the class. Students learn about how to make a film and what requirements are needed. While also learning about their topic as they make their movie.  This issue is important to me because I want to be a teacher. When I get a class of my own I want to be able to find ways to incorporate technology in the class. However, there are a lot of limitations to how we can teach. So this idea needs to be spread so that education boards will allow teachers more freedom to incorporate technology in their own classes.