Muddling through the blogosphere

September 29, 2015
by blogwalker

Keynote Speaker Models Digital Citizenship


On Saturday, technology visionary Rushton Hurley blended educational insights, humor and inspiration in his opening keynote for my district’s September Digital Kids, Digital Classrooms event. Rushton shared a number of thought-provoking tips during his Seeing Ourselves presentation:

  • How to avoid C.I.S. (Comparative Inadequacy Syndrome) by reminding yourself “The only person who you need to compare yourself to is the you who you were yesterday.”
  • When students are supported in creating content for an authentic audience, their question changes from “Is this good enough?” to “Is this good?”
  • We need to change our question to students from “What do you want to be?” to “What problem do you want to solve?”

Starting with his opening keynote slide, Rushton also subtly promoted and modeled respect for intellectual property by crediting the image to photographer.


On the his second slide, Rushton made it clearer yet that he was respecting the Creative Commons licensing the photographer chose when sharing his work on Flickr.


As a huge fan of Creative Commons, I loved that a nationally/internationally known presenter, from start to finish, promoted the importance of respecting intellectual property through proper attribution.

Following his keynote, Rushton facilitated The Magic of Digital Media for Powerful and Engaging Learning workshop. Once again, he started with modeling respect for intellectual property in his opening slide..

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…and on his second slide …


…and then moved on share the power of images via simple teaching tips (EX: start class by projecting a photo and having students team up to generate three possible explanations for the photo – or asking them to explain how the photo connects to yesterday’s lesson).

Besides sharing Search Creative Commons (my favorite way to find CC licensed works), he shared several more options for finding Creative Commons licensed images.

  • PhotoPin – I like PhotoPin’s layout, with the Creative Commons photos below a line and fee-based photos above (what Rushton referred to a “business model”). What I really like is the option to filter for “Interestingness.”
  • Tackkr – Tackkrs helps you to create presentations in a webpage style rather than slides. Rushton explained there are 3 versions of Tackker, one of which is free and doesn’t require a login. I’ll have to play around a bit more with Tackkr. If the free version looks like an easy way for students to find Creative Commons licensed images, I’ll add it to my Can I Use That? A Guide to Creative Commons document.
  • Haiku Deck – Haiku  Deck helps you build beautiful presentations. You can sign up for the free version – and it comes with Creative Commons licensed images.

Just want to say one more time, how cool is that when your keynote speaker and workshop presenter seamlessly weaves digital citizenship into his sessions?!


October 10, 2011
by blogwalker

Merit Saturday Session – Inspiration & Resources

Getting to spend Saturday with Rushton Hurley and the Merit 2011 team was worth getting up at 4:00 a.m. to make the 3 1/2 hour trip from Placerville down to Foothill College in Los Altos, knowing I would leave inspired and with a few new resources in my teacher’s toolkit.


Miguel Guhlin was our opening speaker, joining us virtually from San Antonio, TX. Miguel is one of the first bloggers I added way back to my Bloglines reader. Then and now, he continues to amaze me at the quantity and quality of his Around the Corner blog posts. His presentation answered the question Why blog? Of the tips Miguel shared, my favorite is

Tip 1 – Write or Speak – If you’re not a writer, be a podcaster or videocaster – you’re always a work in progress. You can checkout Miguel’s favorite blogging tools on his Blog Your World site.”



Nicole Dalesio led the afternoon Creativity with Image Editing session. Between her Photoshop tutorial on Scratch Art (which gave me a whole new understanding of the power of “layers” in a photo editing program) and her invitation to explore her awesome Free Online Tools to Spark Creativity wiki (which included Ransom Note Generator, the tool I used to create my Inspiration and Resources graphics), I think we all finished the day re-energized, inspired, and ready to “go out and do good things for students.”

I’m already looking forward to our November 5 session, which will include an exploration of best practices for using (IWBs) interactive whiteboards.

June 29, 2010
by blogwalker

Live from ISTE NECC – Ruston Hurley

Rushton Hurley – such a fun, outstanding presenter – one of California’s best – is starting Matching Teachers and Technology: Good Ideas, Common Mistakes by sharing Shorewood High School’s Lip Dub reverse order video. How   cool is that to involve a whole school in project?!  (And here’s a link to show how they put the project together.)

Rushton is opening the session’ with a hilarious, topic-related multiple-choice quiz.  An now into the session topic, starting with some do’s and don’ts.

Part 1: Training:

Don’t let teachers require themselves to be technology experts! Do remind teachers of their expertise.  Example:  If kid is turning in paper report or multimedia, you understand the content. Remind students that they have a multimedia option (but students are responsible to check equipment prior to due date) or they can do a poster. “Cool” matters. What about kids who don’t have computers at home? Let them work with others. In digital video projects, kids celebrate each others’ work.

Don’t schedule everyone at your site for a computer  lab training! It’s not about something you’re being required to do; it’s about learning on a personal level. Do allow regular (and short) sharing time – like 2 minutes worth of sharing. Find out what others are doing.  Good chance other teachers will have a similar idea/issue they’d love some help rolling into a video clip.

Don’t start with standards. Standards are important, but not as a starting point. Do show something fun. The professionalism of teaching comes down to understanding what it takes to get someone to care about learning something. IDEA: Use a tool/site such as + Cool Iris to create sample of words that illustrate college majors. Why cool? Because concepts and words then become visually interesting. Hey, being able to capture a kid’s interest is so key!

Part 2: Using Funds

Don’t limit technology to labs. Do show what’s possible with one or two computers in the classroom.

Don’t buy expensive software a teacher hasn’t used. Do learn what’s freely available. How to ask for money: Explain to administrators, “This is what I’m already doing; and this is how I could expand it if I had…”  IDEA: Wow them with Google SketchUp sample –  so hands-on creative! If you want kids to think about astronomical issues, for instance, turn ‘um loose on SketchUp.

Don’t blanket the campus with expensive hardware. Do use targeted spending to focus purchases.  Spend it on the teachers who will use the technology. You’ll anger a few on campus – but  if you give something to everyone, you anger the teachers who are using the equipment. With grants, spend the taxpayers money well; send the equipment on to those who are using it.

Bottom line: Technology matters – If we never give students the to opportunity to explore, how will we know what they’re capable of.  Technology connects us with kids in new ways.

Here’s the link to the agenda for this session and here’s the link to Rushton’s website.

Just checked my Twitter stream… it appears a ton of others sitting in this room share my opinion that Rushton’s session rocked!

October 15, 2008
by blogwalker

Google’s Cool Tools and Possible Projects with Rushton Hurley

I’m heading into ILC Session 2 with Rushton Hurley, one of my favorite presenters from NECC 2008. He starts in a few minutes, but already has Simon’s Cat playing for our waiting entertainment.

Rushton’s starting with statement that kids learn more when they’re having a good time – and I’ll add – teachers too – which is pretty much guaranteed with Rushton’s style.

Address for Rushton’s preos resources:

Why Google stuff?

  • powerful
  • collaborative
  • well-prices
  • time-efficient

Google Doc, Spreadsheets, and Presentations – Allow us to create Office application stuff online. Google Docs online eliminates “living hell” of sending versions back and forth. Shared spreadsheet of collaborative blogging projects. Google Presentations – allows kids to get to presentation at anytime as long as you identify kids as viewers and collaborators.

Google Notebook – Another collaborative piece. Download a plugin for browser (piclens or CoolIris- calls up photo wall – great way to get kids’ attention. Great for vocabulary. You have option to right-click and note cooliris in Google Notebook. You can put things in sets (like photosynthesis). Just identify someone as a collaborator. But you do have to download plugin. How to use with kids – teaching them to cite their sources.

Google Sites – compared to wiki

Google Earth – Requires plugin

Google Maps – Rather than filtering – is it a good thing that you can see someone’s house? Message to kids: don’t put your address out there. Checkout Google Map on California MIssions.

Sketch Up – 3D modeling program – essentially FREE audocad program. Great tools for designing area, for instance. 3D warehouse – bring in trees for example. Shadow tool, for instance, as you scroll through year, great for initiating discussions.  “We need to use tools in such a way as to really get kids asking questions.” Could be great science tool to because you can do inside too.

Google Book Search – full view – find Danger and Other Stories (Arthur Connan Doyle) – let kids read it on the computer

iGoogle – add widgets (online stopwatch, Nat’l Geo pic of day) It’s a front page

Advanced Search – storyboard template. By file type very useful.

Educators Group – use online resources to find other teachers – classroom posters, organizations, and more!

PowerPoint – Being a Project Amigo Video. ( No video – all pictures. Big question: is kid listening or not?

Why we do this:

  • another way to show learning
  • confidence
  • improve quality of student work
  • good for ELL, LD kids
  • personal impact
  • expanding the audience

I’m only two sessions into the conference, but I’m sure Rushton’s session will remain at the top of my favorites list.

September 13, 2008
by blogwalker

Next Vista Learning

One of my favorite workshops from last summer’s NECC was Rushton Hurley’s hilarious session on video editing. Before leaving the session, I signed up to receive his electronic newsletters. An update arrived in my email yesterday entitled “Educational Video, the fun way.” I’m glad I opened it! I’ve spent the morning exploring links to some wonderful resources:

  • iEARN 2008-2009 International – Here’s Rushton’s introduction: “There are still some slots for those wanting to make a simple video as part of a cool international project.” What a great way for students to share about their own communities – and to be able to learn about other communities – national and international – through a student perspective. Check out the video samples posted to the site, which will serve as great examples to get students started. Note: Registration ends Monday, September 15.
  • Next Vista Learning – Looking for good videos to bring into the classroom? I think you’ll like the cross- curricular clips posted on Rushton’s website. Hey, I actually get the difference between helium and sulphur hexaflouride after watching Scott Merrick’s video!
  • Lit Terms in Modern Media – And for students needing more than a textbook explanation of literary terms, Todd Seal’s site should be helpful. “The idea is not simply to help define the term, but to explain why to use the technique.” Note: Content is appropriate for older students.

And if you’re traveling to San Jose next month to the Innovative Learning Conference, I recommend you check the program from Rushton’s workshops!

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!

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