Archive for February, 2008

Creating Online Content – Videos

This week my husband and I were watching American Idol and were wondering who orginally sung the song being preformed.  So I got online and googled the song.  Within seconds we were watching the original artists preform the song on YouTube.  We were also linked to other artists who had sung the song and were able to find the version and artist that we knew best.  No digging out old albums or cassette tapes, it’s all at your fingertips.

Finding video content online is a not difficult anymore.  With the advent of UnitedStreaming, YouTube,  and other streaming media you can find video of almost anything you want any time you want and are incorporating that into your teaching.  But what if you can’t find what you are looking for?  What if you have footage of something cool that you want to share with the world?  Maybe you want to get your students attention by posting the instructions in a way that is accessible to them anytime and anywhere.   

This week’s tech tip focuses on creating the video files, where to host the files online and how to make them easily accessible to your students.   To create the video I suggest PhotoStory if you are going to narrate pictures or a PowerPoint.  For video MovieMaker is easy to edit footage, add titles and add music.

Webcams now include software to turn yourself in to an avatar (think cartoon character) and you can record you voice and facial expressions to give directions to your students.  (See the example below.)   Something different to catch those middle school minds!

Once videos are created they can be embedded into a wiki, blog, or linked from your TeacherWeb page.  The advantage of being able to embed the video is the students never leave the page to view the content.

Here is a sample of a teaching video. 


(The shark in the video was created with a Logitech QuickCam Pro 9000.  Only certain Logitech Webcams will create the cartoon images of the narrator.  Check the back of the box if you are looking for this feature.  We have purchased one of these and it is available for use.)

Some Ideas for Teaching Videos:

  • Science labs – capture the process for students to refer back to or for students who were absent
  • Introduce a unit for your students that they can refer back to
  • Explain hard to get concepts or problem solving skills step by step 
  • Create a video to provide background info for a unit 

How can you see using this in your classroom?  Leave your ideas in the comments section.  Also leave your guesses as to who the voice of the shark is in the video. 

Get Students in on the Act:
Creating the videos can also be a task for the students.  When students create multimedia presentation they use their writing skills.  The key to a good presentation is writing a good script and storyboarding. Organization of ideas is essential because if the ideas are not organized, the presentation will also not be organized.  

What Multi Media Presentations Do Well:

  • Gives voice to student work
  • Creates visual interest in a subject
  • Can be turned into a vodcast (more on this in future posts).

Ways MultiMedia Presentations are being Used in Education:

  • Newscast about historical events
  • Advertisements
  • Reports about countries
  • Teach a subject to another class
  • Book reports

Free Software to create multi-media presentations:

  • Movie Maker – edits video and add transitions, titles, etc.
  • PhotoStory 3 – makes a slide show out of your pictures. – Add narration and pan and zoom effects. Good for student made documentaries, presentations.  

Once you have your video created, you need a place to keep that video that students, parents, etc can access easily.  I suggest Why use TeacherTube to host your videos?  It’s free!  The storage space is unlimited.  It’s free.  The purpose of the site is to host and share educational videos.  Links to other videos should not be inappropriate for your students. Did I mention it’s free with unlimited space?  YouTube and Google Video contain videos clips that may nto be appropriate for our kiddos to see.  So please don’t tempt them by hosting your video there!  So choose wisely!

For the step by step how to’s on uploading to teacherTube and embedding videos into wikis and blogs – got to TeachWiki.

If you have an idea of what you might want to do, but need help getting there, let me know and we can make it happen! 

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What is a Blog?

Let’s start  with the difference between a blog and your TeacherWeb page.  A blog allows for users to comment and keeps all posts stored in chronological order.  Blogs are also searchable and can be “tagged” with keywords for easy access to previous information.  For instance, in a few months from now you think, “Oh yeah – Robin emailed us something about blogs.”  You can come to this blog and search using the word “blog” and this post will come up.  Users can also subscribe to your blog and get notified every time something new is posted without you having to send out the info.

 In education blogs are great at :

  • easy publishing
  • self-expression
  • personality
  • forces writer to think about the audience
  • peer feedback
  • chronology
  • community of learners

Examples of use in education:

  • Teacher’s Web Page
  • Learning Journals – reflect on one’s own learning
  • Create historical diaries – each day’s post equals day in character’s life
  • Create fictional diaries – choose a character from the book and write a diary from that person’s point of view – respond to events in the book
  • Publish Book – a chapter a day
  • Collaborate with different classrooms
  • Role Plays – Students are assigned various roles and post blogs from their view point.

So where do you begin?  Start by reading some blogs.   Technorati is a blog search engine that tracks millions of blogs on all sorts of topics.  Check out your favorite websites, see if any of them have links to blogs.   Comment on the blog and see what happens.  Being part of this community is to not only read or consume the information, but to also add back to the knowledge base of other reader’s.  You are more than welcome to comment back on this blog at any time!

Next, subscribe to a few blogs to begin being a member of the blogging community.  Blogs can be subscribed to through a number of free online readers, and sometimes you can get notification through email.  If you are interested in setting up a reader, let me know and we will get you started.   Here are some suggested educational blogs to subscribe to:

  • and of course this blog:
  • You are now well on your way to becoming a blogger yourself.  Setting up your own blog is easier than ever and is completely free!  If you are ready for this step, let me know and I can come get you started.  I currently recommend edublogs as it is free, easily customizable, made for educators and contains no ads.

    Happy blogging!

    Further Reading:

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    Podcasts and Politics

    I have been trying to send out various podcasts in hopes of inspiring you to become listeners of what is happening online.  Ridgeview will be launching it’s own podcast forum in the next few weeks (look for it before Spring Break).

     In getting away for a few moments from education I thought this week I’d show you how the presidential candidates are using this new technology by making their speeches and stances on issues available through the internet and podcasts. You can subscribe to these so you can be up to date on all the latest in the political arena. As always, be careful when looking for resources to check out the spin that might be there and see who is hosting the files.

    If you would like to learn how to subscribe to podcasts or blogs of any sort, please email me and we can maybe set up a class (before or after school) to teach you how to do this. There are some great education ones, current events, technology, sports, basically anything you can think of!

    Campaigns and Candidates

    Specific Candidate Audio/Video Resources:

    To find more, just type in the candidates name and podcasts into Google.  Remember – please don’t send students to do this as they aren’t great yet in discerning good info from bad.

    Disclaimer: By sending these out I am in no way endorsing any candidate, just trying to show you what the possibilities are in finding resources on line for your personal and professional development. :)

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