Monday, August 20, 2007
Well it has been an eventful summer. Time to start getting back to the daily grind of helping teachers with their technology needs. I always look forward to a new year with hope and optimism that we will be able to tackle the challenges which lay before us. This year we are focusing our efforts on students with special needs. Our test scores for students in that area are pretty low. I'm optimistic that I will be able to work with the Special Educators in the building to build a customized instructional technology intervention plan for our special education students. This is greatly dependent on many outside factors, but I am confident that we will make strides.
I really enjoy inspirational videos to get me pumped for a big task. This year is a BIG task. So I went on TeacherTube and located one of my favorite tech videos. It really shows how daunting the challenge is to education children in this rapidly changing world. But it is also very exciting. So I'm sharing it here with you so that it may provide you some inspiration as well. Then if you're interested, you can read on about my ideas about using technology for this school year.
I believe that using appropriate educational technologies with students who receive special education will bear many fruits. Our newly upgraded network now has Windows XP - yes, now that Vista is out it means we upgrade to XP. We need to take advantage of the technologies that existed 4 years ago to help our students today. With the text to speech and speech to text capabilities built into XP and Office 2003, many of our students will find reading and writing a little less intimidating. Confidence goes a long way. Students who believe they can accomplish a task often do. Wow! What a concept! With our new versions of Inspiration® software, Audacity, and VlogIt we can begin to put together lessons that students find engaging and motivating.
I have yet to explore Inspiration but I am excited to see that you can embed video directly into the diagram. How cool would it be to download a video segment from United Streaming so students can watch the video and fill out an organizer, pop it into outline form, and create a PowerPoint or Photo Story show? I wonder how many 8th graders will prefer that over writing a 5 point paragraph about the causes of the Civil War?
Audacity is now on every computer at our school and I am ready to start cranking out some TJPodcasts. With VlogIt now on the approved list I believe we can put many of our creative works to good use. Perhaps even an iTunes page? Dare to dream!
So here are the grand plan for the year. I'm hoping to work most all of the topics into lessons in a one-on-one training session throughout the year.
Technology Topics for 2007-2008
- United Streaming
Suggested Topics for consideration:
- Using Wiki pages for cooperative learning activities
- Creating Podcast and VideoCast projects (goes with Audacity)
- Text to Speech and Speech to Text features of XP and Office 2003
- Improving communication with parents through the use of a teacher web site using Moodle (our ELC software).
- Adapting Assignments for differentiated instruction and incorporating educational technology.
- Proper formatting of a Word document
- Using Excel spreadsheets to collect, analyze, and display data
- Blogging ... it's a lot of fun!
Posted by Tony at 11:39 PM
Sunday, July 29, 2007
People don't always grasp the power of the "YouTube" generation. Yes, there is a tremendous amount of junk on there, but there are some really great nuggets that can be used for instruction. Web 2.0 technology is so useful for motivating and captivating students. A friend of mine sent me a link to the video below. I think it's a great introduction for art or music - two subject areas that are becoming more and more threatened by budget cuts and the hard choices necessary to meet NCLB requirements. It's about 6 minutes long but it can be used so many ways to motivate students.
Posted by Tony at 11:14 AM
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
My brother knows this guy named Craig who created the humanclock.com web site. It's a really cool web site he created by having people pose with carboard numbers during his travels. While cirumnavigating the continent of Austrailia (yes, Austrailia is also a continent) he was dreaming of Marcia Brady on the Brady Bunch and started thinking of making a calendar using a grid formation like the one at the beginning of the Brady Bunch. Really cool but the heat of the Outback must have been getting to him.
Anyway four years later I got an email from my brother that Craig had released Humancalendar.com publicly. So I went to check it out and saw that my brother, Mike, and his wife, Betsy, and some of his friends were all on it. It's pretty cool to see something that. I mean it's totally cool and yet totally insane at the same time. While some people fritter their lives away channel surfing for what's not good on TV, here's a guy who actually puts his idle time to good use. Good for him!
Oh by the way, if it happens to be July when you look at humancalendar.com, #17 is my brother and #18 is his wife, Betsy.
My wife and I met Craig during Mike's "bachelor party" at the Lucky Labrador in Portland, OR. He had just returned from his bike trek around Austrailia and had really facinating stories to tell. It was a great night of food and fun as stories. Craig turns out to be this really cool guy who is mellow and just enjoys being creative. His tech skills are strong and I believe he is a powerful Jedi Knight fighting for good in the cyber universe. One day I'd love to be able to do the coding that he does but I really enjoy helping teachers and students take advantage of technology to aquire their own knowledge.
While at the wedding on Mt. Hood, we asked Craig to take out his cardboard clock numbers and we posed for a two pictures for 5:25 AM and PM. 5-25 is my anniversary!
Posted by Tony at 11:07 AM
Sunday, April 29, 2007
I've been doing a lot of work with Google software lately and I find them to be so useful. When my wife was starting to get "confused" as to when I had appointments and meetings - even though I am officially on leave, I thought I would set up a Google calendar of events and share it with her. Then she will be able to see when I have different meetings and classes. Yes, we have Outlook, but she can't view it real time and if I print a calendar out at the beginning of the month and add an event, I have to keep printing revised versions to hang on my refrigerator.
BUT HERE IS THE COOLEST THING ABOUT GOOGLE CALENDAR!
You have the option to set reminders about your upcoming events. One of the methods of reminding you is to text message your cell phone!! I was so excited when I learned that!! I am so forgetful sometimes with all the things I have to do that the text message is a life saver. I have set it to remind me of an online discussion being held May 1st which I am to participate. So Now I have no excuse about forgetting! :-) Of course, it is possible that I leave my cell phone in the car and never see the text message. BEG
Thursday, April 26, 2007
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
The Evolution of the podcast
Resources list from presentation
Royalty Free Visuals and Audio
Digital Juice (Audio and Visual) - Digital Juice has a vast library of visuals. They are a little expensive but it will save you lots of time down the road.
Royaltyfreemusic.com – Royalty Free Music has some clips available free of charge as well as libraries of music for purchase.
Music.Download.com – Download free music clips for classroom use only. Download.com contracts with artists for use of music in non-commercial projects. For publishing to the Internet, the artist’s permission is required.
Additional Resources from Will Richardson's MICCA Presentation: Podcast, Vodcast, Screencast Nation
http://www.jamendo.com - More royalty free music. You are free to use this in your presentations on and off the web but you must cite the artist and be sure you don't make it appear they are sponsoring your production.
http://www.ccmixter.com - More royalty free music. You are free to use this in your presentations on and off the web but you must cite the artist and be sure you don't make it appear they are sponsoring your production.
http://www.zamzar.com - Free file conversion tool. Convert your .WMV to MP4 or .MOV, your .DOC to .PDF, your .GIF to .JPG and many more!
Editing Software – Free
Windows Movie Maker – Free with Windows XP and Vista
iMovie – Free with MAC OS X
Avid Free DV – Free editor from Avid. http://www.avid.com/products/tryout.html
Windows Media Encoder – Free download from Microsoft for recording actions on a computer screen. Publishes as a Windows Media File.
Editing Software – For Purchase
Ulead Studio – Ulead is a complete editing suite with easy to use interface for about $45 for educators. Ulead is available for Windows only.
Pinnacle Studio – Pinnacle is a robust editing suite that is also easy to use for around $80 for educators. Pinnacle is available for Windows only.
Frames – Frames is a program from Tech 4 Learning that will “stitch” together still pictures to create an animated movie. It costs $45 and also comes bundled with the Clay Animation Kit from Tech 4 Learning.
VlogIt! - VlogIt is the PREMIERE VodCast editor. It is specifically designed to create a Video Podcast. It comes with wonderful, high impact features and it is only $30 from Adobe. I highly recommend this product over any video editor if you specifically want to just do video podcasts. Even if you want to do more robust video editing, it is worth the additional money to have this available. Students and teachers quickly and easily learn to use the drag and drop features to build great video presentations. It creates Flash Videos for publication. VlogIt also has a service which you can publish your VodCast with just a click of a button. This is an extra cost.
Publishing your Vodcast
There are many places to put your vodcast. Here is what I find to be the easiest methods.
Upload the video to your school or class web server and create a hyperlink for it.
Use a blog site such as Blogger with Google Video
Google Video will embed your video into your Blogger blog. It will also work with MySpace, LiveJournal, and TypePad
View a screen cast of how to do this on the resource page shown below.
This presentation and related materials are all available at:
Posted by Tony at 10:35 AM
Monday, April 23, 2007
MICCA 2007 is this week and I have been working hard on the presentation about VodCasts with Kerri Cole. Part of our presentation is to show how easy it is to use Blogger and Google Video to post and syndicate Vodcasts. So I decided to create this blog site to use in the presentation. It is also the progression of the training series I started a couple years ago at school called, "Tech Time With Tony". I created a few videos about how to use MS FrontPage to create a professional portfolio. Of course that was before blogging became so mainstreem. I would certainly recommend to professionals to use a blog site as a portfolio of their work. It just makes sense. Read more!
Posted by Tony at 1:04 PM