Muddling through the blogosphere

July 2, 2008
by blogwalker

Digital Storytelling with Arnie Abrams

Arnie Abrams is opening the session by stating that digital storytelling should be more about the writing – and the writing process – than about the technology.

Benefits of digital storytelling:

  • can be made interactive
  • provides real audience
  • works for the “YouTube generation”
  • helps develop visual literacy
  • helps to understand mass media
  • requires presentation skills
  • develops writing skills

We can now do digital storytelling 2.0 – interactive (VoiceThread – my idea, not his;-)

Ten step development process:

  • start with a good story
  • write an outline/script
  • storyboard
  • brainstorm visual ideas, music
  • findavisual, shoot
  • edit visulas
  • add title , graphics
  • record narration
  • match visual to audio. add music
  • produce, revise, present, distribute

Meg Ormiston quote “Without a structure students will focus on adding images, music, and other elements instead of focusing on the content and organization”

Storyboarding – recommends using index cards so kids can move slides around.

Ways to build a digital story:

  • Stills in a folder
  • PowerPoint (export PNGs)
  • Slide show programs – Photoshop Elements
  • Video editing programs
  • Flash
  • DVD authoring

Software options:

  • iPhoto – Mac only and lacks features, such as titles
  • Photoshop Elements – has slideshow option – with 2 audio tracks! And nice pan and zoom effect; add clip art on top of images via drag and drop; good edit control – but only makes WMV format – appropriate for 5th grade on up
  • PhotoStory 3 – Windows only. You can work only with stills – and doesn’t run with Vista. You can bring in your own music – or create your own copyright-free music.

Video Editors:

  • Corel VideoStudio – appropriate for 6th grade up – Windows only. Allows importing music and video from DVDs. Bottom third option for text. Has 5.1 surround sound – nice for exporting to DVDs. Also allows exporting into all the basic formats (mov, avi, etc.)
  • iMovie – previous versions great, but iLife 08 pretty much sucks – but you can download previous version.
  • Clicker – works on Mac and Windows – Arnie has developed storytelling templates to get kids started. Appropriate for primary kids. Includes text reader, but they can also use microphone option.

Tip for copyright issues: Include a disclaimer on your site with offer to remove images, etc., by request. Here’s a sample one from Arnie:

“Many of the digital stories on our site include images and audio found on the Internet using commonly available search engines. The stories have been created for non-profit, educational use by students and teachers and we hope are within the fair use protection of existing copyright laws. If any copyright owner objects to the use of any work appearing on this site, please contact us and we will remove the work and review the propriety of including it.”

June 30, 2008
by blogwalker

Digital Storytelling

Bernajean Porter is asking us the difference between a story and storytelling. It’s a “lesson learned” that raises a story to storytelling. We’re watching the sample The Music in My Heart, with the tip that when justifying storytelling in your curriculm, make sure you always end by focusing on the difference it makes to an individual student.

Digital storytelling is tuned in tightly to the writing process. You’ve got to have some art to the story, plus a good beginning and solid end. It’s about stories having power and memorability.

Sample exercise: The prompt is “write about a time when technology made a difference in the life of a student” Check out samples and tips at Become a Storykeeper Wiki. Bernajean’s passion for the need to make and share stories about making a difference in the lives of children is infectious. She’s proposing a national project.

“There’s amazing power in storytelling for learning and for spirit. We have to start celebrating from our hearts how teachers make a difference for kids.” Bernajean Porter

June 30, 2008
by blogwalker

Digital Citizenship in Schools: NETS*s Refresh

Mike Ribble, director of Technology from Manhattan-Ogden School District in Kansas, is starting his session on digital citizenship, using the NETS standard. His opening quote in from the movie “Full Disclosure” with the quote “May you live in interesting times.” Technology opens so many possibilities but also so many issues.

NETS*Standard 5 in-a-nutshell definition: “The norms appropriate, responsible behavior with regard to technology use.” Full blown: Students understand human, cultural, and societal issues related to technology and practice legal ethical behavior.

Why is digital citizenship important? (Side trip into Michael Wesch’s video A Vision of Students Today. What are the issues?:

  • providing tools without explaining how to use them
  • between two generations – one that has watched the growth of technology and one that has not known a world without digital opportunities (Prensky)
  • Setting a foundation for the future

Key Questions for today’s session:

  • What are the issues related to Digital Citizenship?
    • digital access
    • digital commerce
    • digital communication
    • digital literacy
    • digital security
    • digital etiquette
    • digital rights and responsibilities
    • digital law
    • digital health and welfare
  • How are we going to deal with them?
    • to understand Digital Citizenship we need to be able to see all the parts (Peter Senge, 1990)
    • working with AUPs – how can we turn them from negative phrasing to positive? (Jordan School District, Jordan Utah video on students powering down for school). How do we make it clear to students what’s appropriate and what’s not appropriate. Considering that first graders are showing up to school with cell phones, we have to start in kindergarten.
  • Digital law: the legal rights and restrictions governing technology use.
    • YouTube video of teacher hitting a student, taken by a student on a cell phone
  • Digital health and welfare: the elements of physical and psychological well-being related to digital technology use. Internet addiction problem is exploding. Withdrawal symptoms are similar to alcoholism.
  • Digital security (self-protection): the precautions that all technology users must take to guarantee their personal safety and the security of their network. Constant issue with kids finding proxy servers to tunnel on by the firewall.
  • Digital Access: full electronic participation in society. Everyone should have opportunity to be involved in a digital society.
  • Dgial Communication: electronic exchange of information. All users of digital technologies need to understand the rules and options when using digital communication (cell phones, blogs, wikis, RSS).
  • Digital etiquette: the standards of conduct expected by other digital technology users. Students need to realize how their use of technology affects others.
  • Digital rights and responsibilities: the privileges and freedoms extended to all digital technology uers, and the behavioral expectations that come with them.
  • Digital literacy – the capability to use digital technology and knowing when and hwo to use it.
  • Digital commerce: the buying and selling of goods online.

So what do we do now? Where do we begin? Don’t attempt to teach them all at once. Work from the framework and work back out. IT departments and teaching and learning need to work together. State and federal need to coordinate where and how technology should be monitored.

June 30, 2008
by blogwalker

Collaborations Around the Planet

Janine Lim

I’m in Janine Lim’s CAP session. She’s walking us through the new features at CAPspace, which make it easier for teachers to connect and to advertise their videoconferencing projects. The new Templates option makes it easy to provide others with information on specific projects. Once you’ve completed your template, you can click on the Collaborate button if you’re wanting to locate partner classes or to just share about your project.

Heading in to check out the links on her blog…and looking forward to RAP 2009!

June 30, 2008
by blogwalker

Ten Tips for Better PowerPoints

I managed to beat the crowds and am now sitting right up front for David Jakes’ session on 10 Points for Improving PowerPoint presentations. Dean Shareski just finished the introduction (hilarious) of David, who is now starting with some images of old technologies, such as the ditto machine…and heading into the ’80s with…PowerPoint. Yep, PowerPoint has been with us since 1987!

“It’s not what the software does. It’s about what they do with it. It’s about crafting the message.”

Teach them biology

The brain is innately designed to communicate visually. Brain wired for visual (30%), but auditory in only (3%). Therefore PowerPoint has to be really visual. Move kids away from templates and away from being text-based. Presentations are indeed performances. Don’t remove all text, but limit it. Dual Processing of brain: visual and auditory + Cognitive load: intrinsic(based on how complex material is) and extrinsic (based on how material is presented).

Teach them how to find images

  • Flickr – billions of images
  • Flickr-storm – type in CreativeCommons in search window and select attribution. Select an image and download tray. Toolbar displays URL. Allows teacher to create bank.of images for students.
  • iStockphoto – Pay site – but wonderful photography. For 1$ you’ll get an outstanding image. Advance search provides grid that allows you to select and add text in bottom area.

Teach them design (Dean Shareski)

  • How to keep up with all the tools – Using random template that has nothing to do with presentation. So strip the template. Strip away unimportant points. Make the image central and, ideally an image (which will help you retain the information).

Teach them to sell

  • Antidote to kids copying and pasting. Kids have to learn how to craft a story, not move content from point a to point b. Kids need to write deeply about their topic. Why not have them write a storyboard, just as they would for a digital story. “Communication ia the transfer of emotion” Seth Godin

Color and font choice matters

  • Color is important. It means different things to different audiences. Dave is showing a yellow-cast beach image. Green suggests renewal. Blue = fav color in US. Red signals danger or alert. Blockbuster = blue with yellow border. Deep blue signifies trust.
  • Fonts – sans serif vs serif (little feet help your eye travel across text), but when you project, always use a sans serif. Tip: Never use Helvetica with US audience (font of IRS)

Teach them to incorporate multimedia:

  • But how to get video from off the web to “embed” in presentation.
  • 3 ways to do this:
    • (avi on PC/mov on Mac)
    • Go into PowerPoint and check steps
    • PowerPt 2003 -07 – YouTube video – creates button to embed into your PowerPoint.

Teach them PowerPoint Secrets

  • Go online and search keystrokes – “B” – takes to slide to black or “W” and slide goes white
  • Type in # of slide so that you can bring in hidden content (slides)

Teach them to share

“Back of Napkin” – selling ideas by getting people to think visually

  • Slideshare – look for exemplars – opening page has “featured presentations.” Show to students and have them critique them
  • Sliderocket – you can build your presentation online
  • Google doc – upload a presentation to Google docs and share it – Use chat box on right so others can join into to preso from other sites.
  • Give photo credits

2008 = lots of ways to communicate!

June 30, 2008
by blogwalker

Very Cool Tricks for Using and Making Videos

I’m sitting in a very packed room with Rushton Hurley (I’m actually hiding from the fire code folks up front where they can’t see that I’m exceeding the room limit). Low Tech Advice:

  • time limits
  • violence and martial arts (think high school boys)
  • podcasts and slideshows – ask the students “Is this what you want other people to hear.” Ease kids into projects so they care about a quality produce
  • alone or with others – helps kids who don’t have the equipment
  • alternatives – you can give students non-video options such as posters (but they’ll want to do video!)

Resources: These resouces can be used as long as you cite them:


Titles and Screenshots:

  • using save-as in PowerPoint (use save as > save as type > save as jpg option)
  • screenshots
    • Google Earth or Sketch Up
    • PicLens – plug in for your browser – perfect fix for those with “iPhone envy.” Great tool for teaching vocabulary, for instance.

Free Photos:

  • KIds need to read the attribution requirements; otherwise, they’ll go to Google and not only violate copyright but also pick something that will pixalate like crazy.
  • (newspaper term) – Huge file sizes, which are good for video.

Motion Experience:

  • Motion should ahve a purpose (pans, faces, eyes)
  • What to do if you’re on PC? Use PhotoStory3 – great, great tool and free! Import pictures > customize motion option > save. If you’re using panning, you want the motion to be different all the time (which is shortcoming with default panning (Ken Burns effect). Oh, and you can create music in Photostory. A bit “elevatorish,” but you have options. Tip: don’t use a favorite pop song because that’s what your listeners will concentrate on — not your movie.

Moving Beyond Freebies

  • Macs – Final Cut Express
  • PCs Adobe Premiere Elements – $99 ( – It’s a memory hog, so you’ll need a good video card with lots of RAM. Remember to render often, not just save. Big advantage of having multiple tracks. Key frames feature is cool, allowing you to add great effects., such as translucent text floating across an image. Want a good mic for camera: lavalier mic.

Why do we do video?

  • another way to show learning
  • good for ELL, LD kiddos
  • impact (“favorite thing”)
  • audience – we need to expand the audience so that kids really stretch

Good news… You can contact Rushton via or Fabulous session!

June 29, 2008
by blogwalker

3Cs – Cyberethics, Cybersafety, Cybersecurity

Davina Pruitt-Mentle and Nancy Willard are leading this section on cyber awareness – which goes beyond cyber safety. PowerPoint of session will be up on NECC ning soon.

Davina: Academic Integrity/Cyber Ethics

Big disconnect between K12 arena and higher ed.

What’s the difference between academic integrity and plagiarism? Academic integrity includes plagiarism as a subset.

Traditional plagiarism includes:

  • Buying a paper from a research service of term paper mill (
  • Turning in another student’s work
  • Turning a paper a peer has written for the student….

New forms of plagiarism includes:

  • Using an electronic translator to translate your work into another language and turning it in as your own writing in a different language
  • Uisng cell phones/PDAs to text message answers back and forth, take pictures of test, archive notes/cheat sheets digitally, etc.

Statistics and Realities – From Center for Academic Integrity – Donal McCabe is a leading researcher. He reports that at least 80 percent of college students admit to cheating at least once – but colleges are reluctant to report problems of cheating, so stats are probably higher. His high school survey showed 74% of cheating on tests and written work. Almost 97% report copying homework at least once. At both the high school and college levels, few students take cheating seriously nor do they believe that their teachers really care (too much hassle, don’t care, not worth the trouble). Serious test cheating grows from 9th to 11th grade and drops off slightly in 12th grade. Students in midwest report lower levels of cheating than schools in west and northeast. Fact: students have a 99% chance of getting away with it. Over time, cheating has not increased substantially, but it’s becoming the norm. Love this student quote for one of the studies: “Except for English they [teachers] never really care.” Teacher quote: “no real consequences for students if you do turn it in.” Fuzzy AUP/SCCs are a problem, with so few having clear statement on defining cheating or consequences.

Suggestions: Students need more than just a single briefing of the AUP. Be sure to include library media specialist as a partner. Ashley Mouberry-Sieman has study online of differences between high school and college cheating:

  • Teachers can help deter academic dishonesty and promote a climate of integrity – teachers can have a huge impact!!! But they must mention the do’s and dont’s throughout the term, not just at beginning.
  • Students needs lots of examples of how to paraphrase, for instance. Assignments should scaffold to deter cheating: outlines, notes, including things from class.
  • Teachers should talk to students about how plagiarism is detected (e.g., take a sentence and pop it into Google).
  • Define what plagiarism is and isn’t.
  • Discuss as a legal issue of fair use and intellectual property.
  • Do the parent ed piece (this can be tough, as the most involved parents also tend to be the ones that push for grades).
  • Talk about the consequences, not just in school, but in the real world too (Wikipedia has tons of examples).
  • Check for Joyce Valenza’s exercises
  • Warm up snippets for students: Give them samples of student plagiarized samples.
  • Assign current and local topics (instead of women in the Civil War, describe an event from your community)

Sites for security issues:

Nancy Willard – Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use

Digital Divide + shift to Web 2.0 > huge changes!

Why do young people make poor decisions:

  • Brain development – frontal cortex undergoing development. Teen process emotions in “fright or flight” portion of brain
  • Disinhibition – you can’t see me; I can’t see you. Lack of tangible feedback about consequences interferes with empathy and ability to make good choices
  • Exploration of Identity and Emerging Sexuality – Trying to win the who’s hot contest
  • Online social norms – life online is just a game
  • Social manipulation – providing a gift, seeking commitment, creating attractive image, establishing authority, encouraging group allegiance
  • Youth risk online must be viewed from perspective of adolescent risk – they’re on risk online – and in real life:
    • vulnerable emotionally
    • less resilient in getting out of a difficult situation

Approaches that are not working:

  • installing filtering software
  • fear-based tactics – teens who meet with sexual predators do so intentionally, knowing they are adults and intending to engage in sex. “Tiny tip of the tail wagging the Internet safety procedures.”
  • misleading use of data
  • reliance on filtering – won’t effectively block “porn traps” because traps generally link to newer sites- here’s a sound bit from Nancy on the topic of filtering by school districts – ws1139401
  • simplistic rules – hey, “just say no” didn’t work with drugs…Teens and tweens need strategies. Unfortunately, most at-risk kids don’t have good relationships with their parents. We need to educate kids – and adults
  • avoiding uncomfortable information – shortcoming of is absence of word “sex” anywhere in the training. Adults must open the lines of communication about risky online sexual concerns.
  • considering all young people victims

How do we do this cybers afety thing better?

  • all use should be in a controlled environment
    • book-marked sites
    • closely controlled communications
    • close supervision
  • key safety rules
    • if something “yucky” appears, turn off the screen and tell an adult. Kids and teachers need to know what to do
    • do not go outside the safe sites without permission
    • do not type your name, address, or phone number online or send a picture of yourself
    • ask kids to bring in terms of use of their favorite sites
  • Ethical decision-making
    • is this kind and respectful to others?
    • what would my mom, dad, or other respected individual think?
    • would it be ok if I did this in the real world?
    • how does what I do online reflect on me?
  • Problem: people who understand risk, often don’t understand technology; people who understand technology often don’t understand risk. The path to bring everyone to the table is cyberbullying – and don’t adopt anything that looks like the D.A.R.E. program. We need to bring in peer leadership too!
  • School counselors have children reporting concerns. They need access to the sites in question! Every administrator needs immediate ability to bypass filters! Many librarians and teachers are trying to teach students about inappropriate sites, but can’t override filters.

June 28, 2008
by blogwalker

Web 2.0 Smack Down!

Pretty cramped quarters in afternoon session of the today’s EduBloggerCon08 to join Vicki Davis’s Web 2.0 Smack Down session. We’re sharing favorite tools:

  • Poll Everywhere – Starting with What Is Your Fav Color poll. Create, save, open poll and public can vote via cell phone. No need to purchase clickers for your classroom! Have kids take the cell phones out of their pockets.
  • – Call ChaCha; ask your question; wait for text message question; they have real people behind the service. Uses in classroom? When you don’t have access to the web. 1-800-chacha
  • Animoto – Great free service that allows teachers to download 1-minute video.
  • – Allows you to take a set of images from Flickr and create a photo wall. Classroom idea: use sets of pictures for teaching a concept.
  • – Didn’t realize you can create a panel. Classroom application – you can approve panelists comments.
  • – via your cell phone, you can do live streams. When you start it, it’ll announce it on Twitter too.
  • – Great for keeping tracks of kids “points” for different things.
  • – Vicky is sharing Diigo feature to send bookmark to Twitter and to your blogs (using tags).
  • Key Chain idea – teachers add tabs to key chain – with “contact me when you’re ready to learn” message on back.
  • Webcast Academy – Training for EdTechTalk
  • Make Beliefs Comics – Easy – and no advertisements – and developer will be adding “smaller” characters. No need to login; no need for email address. Students can print out or email it.
  • – php program that allows you to create your own im network – great for teaching younger students netiquette.
  • – Allows you to solve problem of how to see when you can meet. Doesn’t require login or profile. Voting for selecting meeting date is “egregiously” simple.
  • Timebridge – Works with Google Calendar and with Outlook – will send out email.
  • – takes images from flickr and loads them and assembles them into globe, that’s clickable.
  • Webkinz – Use to teach younger kids about being digital citizens. Has chat rooms.
  • – Backchannels options for students
  • – alternative to Twitter – bit more of a learning curve, but has more options.

Very high-energy session!

June 28, 2008
by blogwalker

Digital Storytelling with Wes Freyer

The full title for this session is Digital Storytelling as the Disruptive Change Agent. Wes is starting with fact that student and teachers have little opportunity for feedback – and development – once they’ve created a digital story. Kevin’s Celebrate Oklahoma oral histories project taps into technologies such as a ning for creating the digital storytelling community.

The Oaklahoma Project was set up for interviewing veterans. The project started with GCast to record an interview over the phone (GabCast works too – both are free).

Advantage of uploading and sharing digital stories on the open web, comments are a possibility, connecting and reconnecting family members. We’re listening to the Lillie and John story amazing story – incredibly well written + music – quite the emotional impact. Check out Hank Thompson’s World War II story.

Digital storytelling in the classroom is a golden opportunity to teach positive, constructive use of technology. Maybry digital storytelling awards, for example, have changed student lives. How to get teachers going with filmmaking? Give a deadline and an event (e.g., Veteran’s Day). Time is the number one challenge, but by getting the students involved and having them use time outside of school will also help kickstart a project.

June 28, 2008
by blogwalker

Google Earth with Lucy Gray

Lucy Gray, from University of Chicago, is leading the session. We’re starting with a look at Google Maps and how to use the search feature to make your own customized maps. Using the Sears Tower in Chicago, we’re looking at the street view, which is not available from all sites.

To make a map, click on MyMaps, type in description and save. Two important options: collaborate and invite others. Import a KML file (Google format) (KMZ=compressed format of KML). When you click on edit, a toolbar opens on your map that includes placemarks. You can upload pictures and/or icons and add lines (right click on the line and you’ll get more options). The cool thing about Google Maps is that you can leave it open to others to edit. Also, it’s not as bandwidth intensive as Google Earth. With the embed code, you can put it on your blog. If your visitors are logged into Google, they can add to your map. When you’re done with your map, send it to Google Earth. – Oh, wow, every time I visit this site, I am amazed at the options. I hadn’t looked at the Google Books Search option, which you can add as a link and to your library. The Find this Book in a Library takes you to WorldCat and shows a library in your area (based on your IP address) that has that collection. The MyLibrary option is public, so by adding tags, visitors can find your reviews. Great way to create a bibliography for a course.

Suggested intro activity for teachers: In Google Maps, make a placemark of a place special to you in your education and email to facilitator, who uploads it into Google Earth as a KMZ file. Have students trained to make placemarks and save them in a file in Google Earth.

Questions: can you add audio and video in Google Maps (as you can in Google Earth).

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