Another Cool Site – Animoto

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Animoto is one of the coolest slideshow/video creation sites out there. You upload your images, add text, choose or upload music and Animoto mixes your images to the music in one very cool video. What’s even better is that Animoto has teamed up with the education world and is offering its full-access pass to teachers and students. This allows you to create full-length videos (past the 30 second limit of the regular free site). Think of using it as an alternative to Power Point presentations or use them as a part of a larger project. Students seem to like the ease of use and fast-paced nature of the final product.

Check out the one I just made. It took about 5-10 minutes to put together and another 10 or so for Animoto to mix it.

What to do when you can’t be there

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My district is running 3 training workshops this week for the teachers who have eClassrooms – Smartboard, Macbook, speakers, cameras, wireless internet. Yesterday we trained the teachers who are just getting their boards this year. Today we are training the teachers who got them last year (with the newbies invited too), and tomorrow we are hosting a “potpourri” of multimedia tools for their eClassrooms.

I am not the main trainer for yesterday and today’s sessions, but I was there to introduce the session, our new Professional Learning Network, and to be around in case of emergency (Smartboards are finicky with Macs sometimes :P) Anyways, yesterday went great and I was all geared up to go in today and have a fantastic day.

Then the puking began. Not mine, my 5 year old son’s. At 10:30 pm, fever of 103.5 (yikes!) and ruined bed. Needless to say, I pretty much knew I wasn’t going to work today. Which really bothered me because I was always one of those teachers who felt that they couldn’t NOT be in school because I had to teach my students and I was doing them a disservice to leave them busy work with a sub. I feel even more strongly now that I’m teaching adults. They are giving their time to be there voluntarily, I should be there to teach them.

So, today, I made my first Ustream recording to do the Ning network introduction. It’s not great because I recorded it at 7 am or so, and the quality is really bad when you blow it up. My intention was for the trainers to show the video on the Smartboard, but I also advised them to have the participants watch it on their macbooks.

So here it is, my very first Ustream recorded show and an introduction to our Professional Learning Network!

Live video chat by Ustream

“We want Macs!”

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The students of Wissahickon High School have had the opportunity to be involved in not only the Classrooms for the Future Grant initiative, but also the very first pilot 1:1 high school classroom, with Mr. Jim Shoemaker. The students in Jim’s American History classes have been using the MacBooks almost daily since school started in September. I went in and interviewed Jim’s students a few weeks ago to gather their reflections on using the MacBooks in Social Studies and their feelings on having MacBooks available to everyone in their school. The following video is the result of those interviews. Watch, listen and smile as you enter the minds of teenagers and their thoughts on technology in school.

Team Teaching

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Well today I officially “Team-Taught” my first class as CFF coach!! I worked with an English teacher on a project he developed in which he would like his seniors to create a culminating project for the novel “The Motorcycle Diaries”. He outlined in his assignment that he would like the students to use Garageband to make a podcast or Comic Life to create a comic/graphic novel. We worked together on the rubrics for each product (thanks Rubistar). My ‘job’ in his classes today was to introduce the two pieces of software so that the students would have an informed decision about which application they would prefer to use. In searching for resources on the Internet I quickly found a short tutorial video for Garageband and Podcasting, but there was no such luck with Comic Life. So, after spending 30 minutes trying to find something, I decided to make my own! Check it out here…

[kml_flashembed movie="" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

However as we were going through the classes today, we both quickly realized that other pieces of software could also be used for this project with essentially the same final result. So, I suggested that the students be able to use iMovie, Scrapblog, or just about any application in which students can analyze, synthesize and create. The teacher was very receptive to the idea but seemed a bit hesitant with the software he is unfamiliar with. What was great though was when one student was interested in using Scrapblog, the teacher asked the student if she would be willing to give his classes a quick 5 minute intro/tutorial to the website. He did the same with another student who wished to use iMovie. Kudos to him for allowing the kids to teach the kids!

It’s wonderful to see real project-based, inquiry-based projects going on, and what’s the best- I’m part of the transformation of both teacher and students!!


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I first found out about Blabberize at PETE & C earlier this month and hadn’t really thought that much more about it until my CFF Apple training last week. Our ‘assignment’ was to create an iMovie, on basically anything we want. So, because most of the time we like to use our time in the trainings on something useful, a fellow coach and friend, Aly Tapp, suggested we do a tutorial video on Blabbarize. I was slightly more familiar with iMovie and she was more familiar with Blabbarize, so we made a good pair. Not only did I learn how to use this cool web 2.0 tool, but I also learned a great deal about teaching the tools I know and collaborating to get a task done. I have since posted my tutorial video on my CFF Moodle page and advertised it in my recent newsletter. It’s sometimes amazing how easy things are these days!

Here is the Blabber I made for the tutorial video:

Here is the tutorial video: