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Saturday, October 2, 2010

Video Sharing: Reflections and Discussion

I have spent the morning rereading the first chapter of Berger and Trexler’s book, Choosing Web 2.0 Tools for Learning and Teaching in a Digital World, and have found it exponentially more engaging and meaningful now that I have more context and familiarity with some of resources and references that they discus. Last night I spent the evening reading blogs, which lead to more blogs and links and and again it all seemed to be increasingly meaningful. I feel like I am starting to get it and that gives me strength, because I was starting to feel that I had no business taking this course.

So now, on to some discussion of media sharing and in particular, video sharing. We have long been fans of YouTube around our household and watch everything from music videos, demonstrations, goofy satires, and political and academic pieces. My daughters have even posted some of their own antics. We have participated in for entertainment, research, and sharing, and in our participation we have been contributing to content through our feedback and sharing.

I was very excited to learn of the online community and have created an account and begun to explore with it. According to Berger and Trexler, the content on TeacherTube is reviewed before it is posted and “is intended to meet one of the following criteria:

1. Address a specific learning objective
2. Be intended for professional development for educators
3. Contain neither advertisements nor solicitations”( pg. 146)
-the inclusion of advertisements can be invasive and distracting as anyone reading on the Web will know. Last night I was reading a “Wried” magazine article, “Honey, I Shrunk the URL” (, and the advertisement on the page kept expanding and covering the text that I was trying to read!-

Will Richardson also recommends as a notable alternative to YouTube for educators. I followed Richardson’s lead and looked up Marco Torres (marcotorres.NET). Richardson notes that “every one of the videos that Marco’s kids produces has meaning beyond the classroom... [That they] are done for real purposes, for real audiences, and are a great reminder as to the potential of the Read/Write Web.” The SFETT, San Fernando Education Technology Team, ( that Richardson links us to is a rich site that exemplifies the potential of video sharing to captivate and engage learners of all ages. (pg. 122). The kind of work that Torres is producing with his students feels more authentic and purposeful to me than any other media sharing tool that I have encountered so far. I think this is primarily because it is an audio/visual media and because that is what our “digital native” learners gravitate to. I the example that I have viewed, students are producing pieces with real purpose and for specific viewers, they are invested in the production, they wish to share it, and they desire the feedback. How many assignments where students are not using Web tools, can we say that about?

After reading up on the subject of video sharing I looked into iMovie, which I have available to me on my computer with a click of my touch pad. My youngest daughter has been prolifically creating video clips for some time now and I have not known what to do with them as they fill up my camera memory cards. Now I can show her how to collect, store, edit, and publish her work. She will be thrilled to learn that she can create content on the Web and receive feedback on her efforts. Wow! It would be challenging for me to use iMovie in my context as an educator because my students currently go to our school computer lab where they receive instruction from a specialist teacher. I have just one computer in my classroom and it is not always accessible to my students because of space constraints. However, as a member of our school professional learning community, I feel that I now have some understandings and resources that I can share with my colleagues whether they are already using media sharing tools to support teaching and learning, or are just wondering what tools are available and how they could be used in their practice. While I may not be using video sharing in my practice, I can be a cheerleader for my peers and an advocate for the usefulness and effectiveness of video sharing in supporting teaching and learning within our school and beyond.

Berger, Pam and Sally Trexler, 2010, Choosing Web 2.0 Tools for Learning and Teaching in a Digital World, Santa Barbara, California: Libraries Unlimited.

Richardson, Will, 2010, Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other powerful Web Tools for Classrooms (3rd Edition), Thousand Oaks, California: Corwin Sage Company.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Video Sharing

I read for hours last night. Mostly Will Richardson, but then I followed up some of the "Good Educator's Blogs" that he recommends. So tonight I have been checking out the work of Marco Torres and exploring Teacher Tube. I have been at it for another couple of hours...I'm really inspired by what I am reading and viewing. I love the grass roots feel of video publishing with all it's gritty characteristics and earnest videographers. Digital Students@ Anolog Schools is a sample piece that really gets to the heart of the matter, I think. Why do we do what we do? We do it because we want the students we teach and guide to have the best lives that they can. Preparing students to be productive, creative, compassionate people in a global community is our overarching goal. The students in this video piece are looking out on that big world and are feeling that the education that they are receiving is falling short. Many of the educators that they are working with are "old school" and not aware of the student's particular context as "digital natives". The work place where these students wish to be productive contributors is dynamic. These youth know that they need to be stong communicators and problem solvers and they seek a connectivist educational experience.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Well, I have had a fairly frustrating day trying to learn how to share photos on the Web. I spent the whole morning trying to organize our collection on iPhoto and then attempting to use Picasa to post an album on this blog. Yipes! It was a formidable task for me because I had never tried to share photos on the Web before (I expected it to be easy, but ran in circles until I was pulling my hair out) and because of the sheer volume and disorganized state of our our iPhoto collection. I know, I know...What was I thinking waiting until Sunday morning to get down to it. Life is like that sometimes. So, after going in circles for too long and allowing my self to become very irritated, I managed to post a photo in the profile section of my blog using Picasa. Then I decided maybe a different tool would work better for me and I tried Smilebox.

More on Photo Sharing

I wasn't really ready to post that last bit but I was unable to edit my draft. It seemed I could post it or delete it, so I posted. I'll have a look at editing it as a posted comment if there is anything glaring.

As I was saying...I gave up on Picasa for now and took a look at Smilebox (Thank you, Kim!) and had an album on my blog within 20 minutes. I'm not entirely sure why Picasa was such a struggle for me. I think my hardware may be part of the problem. I'm currently working with a refurbished MacBook Pro that has had all my files and programs transferred over to it and I have been noticing a fair amount of glitchy things. I was also completely unfamiliar with photo sharing of any kind. I was able to get Picasa downloaded and it did scan all my photos and I could select photos and put them together into an album. I was even able to make that album available on the Web for public view, but I was unable to then post my Picasa album to my blog satisfactorily. I didn't like how it presented and I couldn't figure out how to solve the problem and I was fed up. Perhaps I was doing things in the wrong order...I tried tutorials and the help functions, but I didn't find what I needed. I called a couple friend who use Picasa and they were both out of town!

In the end I managed to put together a super easy album, for a small fee, which I then posted and sent out in emails to family and friends. I'll return to Picasa another day because I feel it should be easy, but for now I'll take a break.

Have a great week, everyone.

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

overarching questions

I'm curious about how to make the best of my time and then how best to support my students in getting the most out of their use of the Web.  If there are thousands of Web tools how do I choose?  I don't do the research myself.  I trust that those that have gone before me know more about it than I do and reason that popular might mean better.  What role does marketing play in which tools win the lion's share of users?  I wonder what percentage of users are like me and go with a first or second recommendation and what impact that has on the market.  Web 2.0 readers and writers need to first choose their tools.

I am also curious about the idea that there have never been more readers and writers on this planet nor has there ever been the volume of text that we produce.  I'm sure that lots of these texts are profound, contribute to bodies of knowledge, and generate new bodies of knowledge, but what about the other stuff.   Web 2.0 readers and writers need to be thinkers. 

I wonder about the way that we need to think as we sort through all the information that we link from site to site, as we skim and scan at flit from one path to the next.  Does this have an impact on thinking?  I personally find it distracting that there are often so many links embedded in texts.  As I pass them by, or follow them, I am torn because following links can be like going down the rabbit hole and I'm not sure I want to go on that adventure, but maybe it would be fun.  I'm quite easily distracted and so are many of the students I work with.  I wonder if this distraction factor is detrimental to thinking.   

So, over the next couple of months I will be considering these questions and participating in the Read/Write Web in an attempt to develop my understanding and ultimately become a better teacher.