BlogWalker

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March 24, 2013
by blogwalker
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CUE 2013 – Day 2 Take-Aways

Continuing on with my reflections from the fabulous 2013 CUE Conference, here are my take-aways from:

Friday, Day 2:

Opening Keynote with Sir Ken Robinson – I’ve been a long-time  fan of Sir Ken, starting with his first TED Talk and his Changing Education Paradigms animation. It was great to  hear him in person and be reminded that:

“Every single one of the 100 billion lives who have walked the face of this earth is unique and unrepeatable…To be born at all is a miracle, so what are you going to do with your life?”

“We have to get away from standardizing to personalizing – in ways that celebrate diversity. Technology drives this revolution.

“Educating is not a process of directing instruction, but to inspire, to feed curiosity, to facilitate. If we aren’t facilitating learning, then education is not happening.”

Session 5 – Elementary Flipped Teaching – Using the Cycle of Learning to Innovate CCSS Instruction – For a window into Lisa Highfill’s innovative teaching, start with a visit to her website. Lisa asks both in her teaching and in her session “What is it I can do now (with new technologies) that I couldn’t do before?”  The video below illustrates her  “explore, explain (flip), apply” cycle for delivering curriculum:

 

Session 6Get slammed With Google – Loved the energy in this session! Definitely click on the link to see for yourself how Mark Hammons, Diane Main, Jen Roberts, Bill Selek (no live links yet), Scott Kley Contini, Joe Wood, Megan Ellis rocked the audience with their Google tips and tricks (AKA slams)!

During my whirlwind 2 days at December’s Google Teacher Academy, Mark’s Google News Archive Search was my favorite “slam.” Judging from the post-CUE 2013 conversations on my flight home from Palm Springs, Mark once again wowed an audience. Grand Slam!

Megan Ellis (a MERIT 11 colleague) shared a simple but very important Google tool: custom Google search engines. For educators  like me, who teach tough topics, such as the Holocaust, Megan’s How To Tutorial is a gem, simply explaining how to create, for example, a Researching the Holocaust search engine with middle-school appropriate links.

But seriously, you will want to check out each Google Slam demo!

Session 7 – Visual Storytelling, Digital Storytelling, Cinematic Narrative: Literacy Across the Curriculum – Because it is so easy to get sidetracked in great hallway conversations at CUE, I arrived half way into Ken Shelton’s dynamic session, something I immediately regretted. Ken laid out the key elements of digital storytelling:

  • understanding of topic
  • content curation – simply grabbing a bunch of pictures is not going to to do it – 7 image limit. If you can’t find images that work, create your own
  • media literacy – what is the value of an image? How about music? Does if fit the narration?
  • develop a storyboard  – Great motivational stratgy that Ken uses with his students (in case they’re tempted to gloss over this important pre-producation step): switch storyboards & threaten to grade group on another groups completion of the project
  • production
  • reflection – what did you learn? what would you change?

What’s missing from my session summary are the powerful images and and stunning videos he used to illustrate each key element.  For example, to show the difference between “digital storytelling” and “cinematic narrative,” he shared this BMX video and this stunning Inspired Bycycles video.

If you missed Ken’s #cue13 session, but will be attending ISTE 2013, I’ll see you in his Making Movies with the iPad, iPhoneography, and Photoshop Basics session. I plan to arrive early!

Session 8Explore, Flip, Apply: Empowering the Learning Cycle Through Technology – Although I caught only the tail end of Ramsey Musallam’s session (once again caught up in great #cue13 hallway conversations), having heard him present before (MERIT 11, CVCUE Fall 12), I wanted to end Day 2 with his winning style of brilliant + hilarious. I wasn’t disappointed.

Explore-Flip-Apply model

I think many teachers are put off by the idea of “flipping” instruction because they are concerned about putting hours and hours of time into creating instructional videos that students will be required to watch for homework, another form of lecture-based instruction, often limited to lower-order thinking. Ramsey’s approach to flipped instruction definitely taps into Bloom’s  higher order thinking skills (applying, analyzing, evaluating, and creating).

Using the Explore-Flip-Apply model, Ramsey has his AP Chemistry students explore a concept first.  Then the “flip” comes in. Rather than introducing a concept with a video, he jumps in on the spot and creates “short, tailored video designed to address misconceptions and assimilation errors that arose during student exploration.” Rather than spending hours creating detailed screencasts, the “technology became a slave to the pedagogy, rather than vice versa, and the videos became, if you will, ‘inquiry spackle'” (quote from OnCUE, Spring 2013, Vol 35, No. 1).  For tons more resources, strategies, and samples, visit Ramsey’s personal website and Cycle of Learning.

Be back soon with Day 3 Take-Aways.

 

January 1, 2012
by blogwalker
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Tips and Tools for Making an Award-Winning PSA

“To fulfill the promise of digital citizenship, Americans must acquire multimedia communication skills that include the ability to compose messages using language, graphic design, images, and sound, and know how to use these skills to engage in the civic life of their communities.” ~Renee Hobbs

As we head into the New Year, it is exciting to see a number of great video competitions open to students.  From our regional spring SEVAs competition to NextVista’s national and international events, students can hone their 21st century skill set (critical thinking, communication, creativity, collaboration, (digital) citizenship) – as they build their ePortfolios and digital footprints.

It is also exciting to see a growing number of free online tools and tips to help student filmmakers through the process of taking a message and transforming it into a media gem. For example:

Pre-production:

Storyboards – From printable storyboards to Mathew Needleman’s more organic approach to storyboarding, storyboarding is a starting point for creating a powerful PSA.

Script writingPSA Scripting Template – Thank you, Bill Ferriter, for this excellent resource!

Production:

Camera shots:

  • Rule of Thirds – This basic camera rule/practice will rock your world – and your students – if you’re not already familiar with it.  Here’s a great video by Kids in Action on everything you need to know about the rule of thirds. Once you’re aware of the rule of thirds, it will change how you view videos – such as this trailer from High School Musical (thanks again to Mathew Needleman for sharing this one).

  • Wide-Medium-Tight Shots – I had another big ah ha moment, right up there with learning about the rule of thirds, when I attended SECC’s SEVA Training session with News 10’s multimedia journalist Nick Monacelli.  I recommend watching the entire 40-minute session on Building a News Story. But if you’re short on time, move the play head  about 15 minutes into the presentation and watch Nick explain the importance of taking B-roll footage. It’s B-roll tight shots – not transitions – that “professionals” use to quickly and smoothly move a story along.

And the big ah ha?  Hey, until hearing Nick’s presentation, I had not considered that almost never in a news story will you see transitions used.  Aside from the rare dissolve transition, used to show a flashback or change in time, transitions are  not part of an award-winning newscast. But, oh my, do students, especially elementary students, love to use transitions! Nick’s presentation could be just the tip students need to rethink the use of star wipes, for instance, in transitioning their viewers from one scene to the next.

Post-production:

Audio/Music:

  • UJam – I am no longer envious of Mac users’ access to Garageband (I teach in a PC district), thanks to UJam, a free, web-based program for creating music – even if you (like me) are music-challenged. UJam was one of my favorite take-aways from last summer’s Merit program.
  • ccMixter – ccMixter is a community music site featuring remixes licensed under Creative Commons where you can listen to, sample, mash-up, or interact with music in whatever way you want.  I learned about CCMixter in Silvia Tolisano’s wonderful Digital Storytelling How to Guide for Educators.
  • Jamendo – A rapidly-growing community of free, legal and unlimited music published under Creative Commons licenses.
  •  Audacity –  A free, cross-platform program for creating and editing audio. Here’s a link to my favorite Audacity tutorial: Audacity Basics

Video editing – Although I’m still grieving the loss of cloud-based JayCut, such an awesome freebie that even included green screen options – and allowed editing from both Mac and PC, eliminating all kinds of school-to-home/home-to-school issues – I continue to be grateful for iMovie, Movie Maker, and PhotoStory3 (one of my favorite digital storytelling tools!).  And I look forward in the New Year to exploring free smartphone apps for filmmaking.

I think one of the most important things we can do for students is to support and promote their efforts at becoming effective multimedia writers. Providing tools and tips is one way – along with providing authentic audiences.  Over the next month, I’d like to gather a comprehensive list of student video competitions.  If you know of any, please jump in and leave a comment.

The great films have not been made yet. The ones who will make them are out there, though, riding a skateboard.” ~Robert Altman

February 7, 2009
by blogwalker
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BAWP: Scaffolding for Success – One digital story at a time

I first learned of the Bay Area Writing Project when my daughter was in 2nd grade at Rooftop Elementary School in San Francisco. At a PTA meeting, teachers enthusiastically shared how a summer institute across the bay had completely changed the way they would be delivering writing curriculum to their students.

And I remember my daughter coming home with her writer’s notebook and talking about “sloppy copy” and “author’s chair” and, just, well, wanting to talk about her writing.

We moved the following year out of the Bay Area and up to the Sierra foothills, where I eventually fell into a teaching job at my daughter’s school – and where I learned about the Area 3 Writing Project, the Sacramento region’s counterpart to the BAWP. I had the good fortune in 1995 to attend the A3WP Summer Institute.  Like the Rooftop teachers, I began the next school year with a commitment to bring out the writer in every student.

It’s easy to make commitments like the above when you know you can count on the support of the amazing Writing Project network.  For example, checkout what I found this morning while browsing the National Writing Project website: Literacy, ELL, and Digital Storytelling: 21st Century Learning in Action. I’ve had the pleasure of attending Clifford Lee’s Digital Stoytelling session live during an NWP conference. But now, thanks to a collaborative effort between the BAWP, NWP, and the Pearson Foundation, Cliff’s wonderful immigration project is online.  This video is but one of the many resources posted to the site, providing the scaffolding for teachers thinking about structuring an immigration project – or any kind of documentary project.

What a gift to have 24/7 access to best practices for digital storytelling from teachers like Clifford Lee and his colleague Yumi Matsui!

January 8, 2008
by blogwalker
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Revision – In the Age of Digital Storytelling

Andy Carvin posted today about an amazing digital storytelling project/collection:One Story, 50 Tools, Infinite Possibilities. One of the challenges of working with emerging writers is getting them to buy into the need for revision. But, oh my, a visit to educator Alan Levine’s treasure trove of Dominoe the Dog stories introduces not only multiple tools for digital storytelling but also presents a beautiful model of the unlimited possibilities for constructing a storyline when storytellers embrace revision. If you listen to the story below, you will definitely want to visit the Levine’s CogDog wiki and check out the next 49 versions (and tools)!

[kml_flashembed movie=”http://www.youtube.com/v/eMp-Fl-sXrU” width=”425″ height=”350″ wmode=”transparent” /]

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