Tag Archives: podcast

Multimedia Documentation

I lucked out last week. The WHS Science department was planning a trip to Boston to see several exhibits, and there was space enough for me to go and to take a few art students along. I’d been dying to see the Glass Flowers at the Harvard Museum of Natural History since the science folks started taking students to see it a few years back. My pitch to be included in the trip involved media – the ability to facilitate the student documentation of the trip in still photos, digital audio and digital video. With five still cameras, three audio recorders and one video camera dispersed among the students, divided among the three groups, we went into the Museum of Science and off to Cambridge.

While we were at Harvard, the science teacher did mini-talks in front of several of the exhibits, pointing out how the exhibit demonstrated particular concepts the students covered or would soon cover in class. Chris is a great teacher and has a wealth of information he is happy to share with anyone who wants to listen. The students with the recording media picked up on that and many of his ad-hoc presentations were captured. This will be great for the students to review when they get back to class, and for students who were unable to attend to get some flavor of the trip. What great additions to Chris’s curriculum – mini-movies and podcasts to engage students.

In addition to capturing the teacher talking, the students interviewed each other about the trip and what they were seeing. When a peer is interested in their thoughts, they actually have to have some – and you could see the engagement kicking into another level, the search to find something coherent and meaningful to say about what they were seeing. Sometimes they read the info-cards with the exhibit – not exactly higher level thinking, but it provided key information for the video and stills, and there is a good chance they wouldn’t have read it at all had they not had a specific reason to do so.

The bus ride home provided yet another insight for me. The science teachers were talking about how they saw the media involvement lead to additional student engagement, as well as the opportunity to have materials to work with in class upon their return. They were really excited about the possibilities of this kind of student interaction – this time on a field trip, but I’d be willing to bet they will see the ways it can be used in the classroom as well. We’ve been doing things like this in Art for a while, but it really is a new prospect for many of the other teachers. The science teachers thought we should present the media and the trip to the rest of the faculty at a staff meeting – their idea, not mine. Hooray!

So, we are left with 1.5 GB of still pictures and audio files (not to mention all the pictures I’ll get from the students with their own cameras when I get back to school tomorrow), and 8 GB (about 30 min) of video clips. I’m trying to figure out how to post all the media where the students can all get to it, add to it, and use it for whatever projects they come up with. We’re a 1:1 school, so the kids all have the tools they need to make podcasts, edit images, create movies, etc. We have a server and workspaces on First Class Client. All I have to do is request the nearly 10GB of space – ultimately more like 15 when the kids start adding – to make it all accessible. I can’t wait to see what they come up with.

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Filed under classroom, digitalmedia, podcast, teaching

Talking with the Seedlings on a Sunday afternoon

I had a great experience yesterday.  Once again, my Twitter alert brought opportunity knocking.  Alice Barr and Cheryl Oakes, both of whom I follow, alerted the world to the Seedlings current streaming podcast with educators from New Zealand.  The key part to the post was the inclusion of the website where they were broadcasting, and which chat room to join.   I jumped at the chance to participate, putting aside my grading to join in this live conversation.

New Zealand - Neuseeland   Zwischen Raglan und HamiltonAs usual for me, I started chiming in via the text chat.  The teachers from the small Motumaoho School in Morrinsville, New Zealand were participating in an in-service day and started with this conference-Skype and broadcast with the Seedlings in Maine. The conversation focused on how to incorporate web 2.0 tools into their students’ experience. They had started using some of the tools, but using their network they realized that Bob Sprankle, Cheryl and Alice had a wealth of knowledge to draw upon.  It made total sense to talk to them about how to proceed, and to use some of the tools in the process. The back and forth of ideas, methods and tools to try seemed, to this somewhat peripheral participant, to be informative on both sides of the conversation. Check out their Motumaoho School Blog to see what they did with the rest of their day – I would LOVE a workshop day like this one!

I was fascinated by the description of their school and the local control that they enjoy.  The key phrase for me was the statement that they (to paraphrase) “teach students, not curriculum”.  This is not to say that they don’t have outcomes at each level (not tied to grade level but performance levels – how lovely!), but that they have the flexibility to reach the standards with whatever tools they have at hand which best meet the needs of the individual students.   At a time when our schools seem to be headed for greater uniformity, consolidation and teaching to whatever high stakes test is on the horizon, this approach from New Zealand was refreshing.

After a bit, the teachers at the Motumaoho School went on with other agenda items and dropped out of the chat, and  Cheryl, Alice and Bob invited me to Skype in and join them.  Wow! Ok, not only was it my first conference-skype, I was actually going to be on the Seedlings podcast!  They were great at getting me up and running right away, and my built in mic on my MacBook Pro seemed to do ok.  I definitely want to get a headset with a mic for better sound, though.  I enjoyed talking with the Seedlings about my recent entrance on the web 2.0 scene, describing briefly how my initial network of 4, the three Seedlings and Vicki Davis, has now translated to a rich network of educators from around the world in just about a month.   I also referenced the article that the Times Record ran on my classroom, which has had great responses.  The best part has been running into parents in the community who saw the article and had favorable comments about it. Anything that gets positive parental involvement or interest in the schools is good in my book.   Last but not least, I was able to contribute a couple of geek of the week links near the end of the podcast.   I didn’t know where I found the links at the time of the podcast, but it turns out they were from the EdTechTalk delicious page, which is a great resource and is the foundation for the Ed Tech Weekly show on Sunday evening on Edtechtalk.com.

What a great way to use an hour of a Sunday afternoon! Big thanks to Cheryl, Alice and Bob for the opportunity to join their Seedlings podcast for the day, and for their ongoing outreach to those of us new to the read-write web.

*photo credit : Picture somewhere between Raglan and Hamilton New Zealand, near Morrinsville.  Image from Flickr, by Traveling Pooh  http://www.flickr.com/photos/thbecker/     Use : Creative Commons 2.0

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Filed under classroom, New Tools, podcast, teaching