One more post before the semester is over…
Thank you to everyone who contributed to our EC&I 831 class this semester. I have learned SO much from you, Alec, and our presenters. I take so much away from this class, and I will continue to follow you on Twitter and read your blogs if you continue to post.
I love to bake, and usually I take a treat to my last class. Well, that won’t work this semester, so please accept the online version of some Christmas baking. Dig in! Merry Christmas everyone!
When I started this project months ago, I never expected it to grow to what it has become. I have put A LOT of work into this site – more work than I have applied to any other Master’s class project. My learning curve has been huge! However, the difference between this project and others that I have completed is that it does not feel like I am doing this “for the marks.” I am not constantly thinking, “Is this what is required? Is this what my prof wants? Am I following the guidelines? Will I receive a good mark?” Instead, I have taken this project and have run with it. I am always thinking about how I can add to it, and not because of project requirements, but because I want to make it better, share with my colleagues, and have something effective to use with my OWN students! I have been using the site quite regularly, and I am so proud of it because the most important part is that the students are learning from it. They always love when we work on the Moral Intelligences, and their answers are so mature. They are really engaged, and I know it is because of the technological aspect of the site. As well, it feels great to help my fellow colleagues. I have made teaching this aspect of the curriculum so much easier for them. Some are even planning to start their students blogging after Christmas – a project that I am going to start as well and with which I am going to help them. I have been able to use so many sites and tools that we learned about in class when creating my website, AND have included them in my website. Again, I was not thinking, “Oh, I should use Wordle, Picnik, and Compfight on the site so that I’ll get a better mark!” Instead, I was thinking, “Sandy would love Wordle – her class would probably enjoy it too!” “The grade eights will love using Picnik – I should include that somehow!” I am so grateful for everything that I have learned in EC&I 831!
I have thoroughly enjoyed creating this project and it has been the most worthwhile Master’s class project that I have completed. I am going to continue to add to it after this class has wrapped, and that way, there will be a page per month for the entire year. When Dean Shareski spoke to our class, he asked us where our best work was located, and if it was online. At the time, mine was not. I remarked that it was sitting in boxes in my basement and in lessons that only my students saw. Now, however, some of my best lessons are included in this website, and some of my NEW best work, this website itself, IS online! I hope that other teachers outside of my school are able to use it, and that they will continue to share it with others for years to come.
Writing an entry to “summarize” my learning for EC&I 831 does not seem adequate for this class. I have learned so much in such a short period of time that it really WAS difficult to summarize my learning into a 5-7 minute project. (Thus, you will see that my project is 7:32. Being concise is not my strongpoint!) Moreover, I feel like a summary is often synonymous with a conclusion, and my learning stemming from this class is only just beginning. I feel as though this class is a stepping stone to everything, technologically-based, that I am going to embark on. I truly felt rhizomatic learning happening throughout this class, and that was something that I had not experienced within any class I had taken. In my post about Dave Cormier’s presentation, I stated that rhizomatic learning “can move in multiple directions, and it is unpredictable. It is open-ended, experiential-based, creative, and not based on memory, but on forming knowledge. There is no curriculum because learning from EACH OTHER is the curriculum.” How true that was for our class! Our learning was not based on a prescribed curriculum, but it was because of each other and ourselves. Never before have I taken a Masters class or undergrad class where I felt so motivated and compelled to learn, share, and grow than during this class. I have been working on my Final Project since two weeks after this class began, and never was I thinking about the mark I would receive or if I had completed “enough” or “the right kind” of work. I was compelled to create it for myself and others. The process by which I created my website was challenging, but it forced me to learn for myself, and in that way, I have grown so much more. I will be continuing to work on my website even when class is complete, and I think that that alone shows the importance of rhizomatic learning. Alec stated in our last class that we should think about learning beyond our class and that we should learn for ourselves. Thank you for motivating us to do so, Alec, and providing us with the tools to learn beyond the classroom. I have enjoyed reading about others’ Final Projects and have witnessed many others creating projects that they will continue to use when class is complete, and that is testament to all that we have learned.
Although it is difficult to summarize my learning, as it is still ongoing, I CAN summarize my feelings about this class. I have enjoyed it far more than any other class that I have taken. I am constantly thinking about how I can utilize all of the new tools that we have been given. I find myself very conscious of who I can share things with, and I am compelled to pass on what I learn to others to make THEIR lives more interesting and easier! I have learned so much from everyone in the class. Just today, I passed on Honni’s blog to our school’s kindergarten teacher who is attempting to use technology in her classroom. I am going to have my students create Wordle posters thanks to Judy’s recent post. I finally remembered the site that Alec recommended that allows you to caption your pictures, thanks to Katy, and I am now obsessed with picnik and used it to create the picture above. I will now be showing my colleagues how to use picnik tomorrow! All of that sharing was completed, and only in the course of a day! I am even DREAMING about sharing! Whenever school gets stressful, I have this reoccurring nightmare about tornados (and have had this dream since I was young.) Last week, before conferences, I had the same dream. However, when I saw the tornado approaching, I tweeted out a storm warning! Sharing is now apart of my subconscious!
We still have two classes left, and I have no doubt that many of us will continue to follow each other’s blogs, so I will not say my goodbyes quite yet! Instead, I will leave you with my Summary of Learning. I apologize for it being 32 seconds too long! :P I honestly timed it when reading my ‘script’ aloud to make sure that it was within the time constraints. However, I seriously underestimated the speed at which the characters speak! I edited for, no word of a lie, two hours, and this is as short as I can get it, sorry! I have three “deleted scenes” that didn’t even fit the cut…but I’ll save those for the DVD. :P I also was frustrated that I could not edit them into one movie with five different scenes. Alas, I would have to pay even more than I already paid to use the account, and that just wasn’t in this teacher’s budget! I then tried to upload all five to You Tube to create a playlist, but for some reason, the movies will NOT upload. I have tried for two days, searched many help boards for the past hour, changed my authorization several times, and still, nothing. I tried to embed them into the blog, but that wouldn’t work either. Then, I tried to download them to my computer to upload to a host site, but I couldn’t download them without paying to upgrade my account! What a money-grab! Finally, I decided to take a screen shot of each one and link to that, and it seems to have worked. So without further ado…
My Summary of Learning, using xtranormal
I have been working on my Summary of Learning today, and after playing with several of the Web 2.0 digital storytelling tools, I decided to use xtranormal. Xtranormal is a movie maker where you can create your own animated movie and have the characters say your text. I wanted my Summary of Learning to be told like a story, and this seemed to be the best media through which to share my summary. I think that I was also inclined to use the program because as a child, my brother and I had a movie maker program on our computer that reminds me a lot of this site. It was a lot of fun, but not nearly as simple as xtranormal was to use.
While working with xtranormal, I discovered a few pros and cons.
- Quite easy to use.
- Several characters to choose from.
- The characters can ‘do’ several different actions.
- The drag and drop process by which you place the action command right into the text was simple.
- Simply type your text into the window, and the characters say what you want them to say.
- The site is free for a 14 day trial, but I had to pay for an account in order to access more options. It was only $10, so I think it was a good deal.
- The characters are static and do not walk around.
- You cannot make more than one scene in a movie without upgrading to a higher account. This is what I found most frustrating. I had to make four mini-movies that I will show in order for my presentation. I wish that they could have a fade-out in between each one so that the scenes changed. In my program as a kid, I was able to do this.
- The computerized voices are not too bad, but I wish that I could record audio right into the program. However, it is kind of cool having them speak in their monotone way haha.
- In order to preview the movie to see how it looked, it took quite a long time to load each time I wanted to see how my changes worked.
All in all, I think that this storytelling tool has been a creative way to share my Summary of Learning. Now, my only problem – it is nine minutes long! :S I have some serious editing to do!
It is freeeeeezing cold outside, and it is the perfect day to have devoted to working on my Summary of Learning. I have been looking at everyone’s blogs to see how they have been using the digital storytelling tools, and I have been collecting many ideas for projects that I want to try with my students. I was thinking to myself, “Oh, I hope I remember that so that I can try it when we are working in such and such unit! Oh, I want to have my students try Zooburst for their OWN Christmas lists like Laura posted on her blog! Oh neat, the kids would LOVE to try Blabberize for their creative writing projects! I hope I remember these things when the time comes to use them!’ Then I thought, “D’uh, Chelsi, just blog them and reference them later!” One of the reasons why I love the web so much is that it provides such great organization. Now I won’t have to search through my files for my list of resources – I can access them all in one click! This list is mainly for my own organization, but if you are able to use any of the ideas, all the more reason to create it! If you have any ideas to share, feel free to add them!
ImageLoop or Animoto – I want to use this to create a simple slideshow for for my class blog of pictures of the students on our various field trips.
Photopeach – Use to display my own photos and upload to Facebook. Looks pretty easy.
Slideroll – This slideshow tool is deemed “on the easy end of the slideshow creation tools” by Alan, so maybe my students could create their OWN slideshows with captions about our class trip to Agribition.
Tikatok – Helps kids to create books using photos (or could use their drawings if I took pictures of them). The kids would love creating a story this way rather than the standard pencil and paper way.
Vovox – My husband’s band could use this to put their gig pictures on their website in a cool, different format.
Mixbook – Great to show my friends who have kids and who don’t have time to scrapbook their pictures, but still want to share them.
xtimeline – For my Titanic unit, my students could keep track of the events unfolding surrounding the Titanic’s voyage and sinking.
Pikistrips – Students could caption photos of our field trips or classroom events and make them into a comic.
Google My Maps – Why have I not seen this before??? This will enhance my Canada Social Studies unit in numerous ways!
Flickr Five Frame Stories – This was fun to do in class, and would be good to do as an entire-class creative writing project. I could project the pictures from the data projector and we could write the story together as a class.
Blabberize – Have the kids create characters in Creative Writing class, find a picture on Compfight, and go to town on this site!
Now, off to figure out which tool to use for my Summary of Learning!
Last night, our class was fortunate to have Alan Levine present to us about Digital Storytelling. I had been looking forward to this class, as at the beginning of EC&I 831, our class was introduced to Alan’s blog, CogDogBlog, and I have been enjoying it ever since. To learn more about Alan and his projects, such as The Story Box, be sure to check out his blog. I always feel inspired to create and share after I have read it! (For a REALLY inspirational read/view, check out the Cookie Love story!).
I was looking forward to not only learning new tools and sites from Alan, but for discussing the idea of storytelling, digitally. Last year, I took EC&I 808 Instructional Theory and Practice from Dr. Patrick Lewis, and I learned a great deal about the power for storytelling from this prof, a master-storyteller himself. Stories convey such power, and I find that when teaching, whenever I tell a story or link a lesson to my own personal tales, the students are so attentive and able to form connections. The idea of using the internet to share our stories globally fascinates me. After watching Alan’s video 50+ Web 2.0 Ways to Tell a Story, I couldn’t wait to dive into this class session!
by Dave Hosford
Using a swimming pool metaphor for last night is quite applicable to me. We dove into this presentation full force, and I was introduced to so many new tools – quite possibly 90% or so that I had never heard of but am excited to try. By the end of class, I had amassed so much information that I felt as though I was drowning. I am meaning to sound negative, as I knew that this presentation would be extremely fast-paced if we were to learn about 50 different tools in 1.5 hours. However, I am just feeling overwhelmed at the moment. I am not overwhelmed by the content or tools, as I would love the time to play with them all. I am overwhelmed with everything happening in my life right now, and any elementary school teacher is probably feeling the same way. In the next week and a half, we have report cards to hand out, conferences, I have a field trip to plan and execute, my final project to work on, my summary of learning, committees that I am apart of at work, and then simply trying to live and enjoy life at the same time while running on about five hours of sleep a night. I am feeling frustrated because all I wanted to do today was stay home and try out all of the new things that I had learned last night, but alas, work beckons me! I always struggle with trying to give 100% to every aspect of my life until I burn out and then have to re-evaluate things. I wish that I could experiment more with the digital storytelling tools, but for now I will try a few and have to be satisfied with that until I have more time to play with them more thoroughly.
Alan has organized the digital storytelling tools into classifications on this page, and I am forever grateful for this organization! He also has the tools organized by media capacities I know that this page is going to become indispensable for me in the future, and I plan to use it for my Summary of Learning. The first digital storytelling tool that I want to discuss is Voicethread. I started experimenting with Voicethread last week when I had my students record their Radio Plays through Voicethreads so that they could be shared with their families and friends via our blog. However, I quickly found that Voicethread only allows five Voicethreads to be created before you have to start paying $15 / month for the service. I Tweeted about my frustration last night, and I received a reply that I should try Fotobabble. I set up an account and gave this a try today. It’s a simple tool very similar to Voicethread, so I was excited to have found a free resource. However, while my students were recording their plays today, we discovered that the maximum recording length is too short for their plays. I had to go back to the drawing board and ended up signing up for a second Voicethread account with a different email address for the time being so that my students can finish recording their plays. Does anyone have any other suggestions of tools similar to Voicethread that are free and allow recordings to be over three minutes long?
The second storytelling tool that I wanted to try was Blabberize. From the Blabberize videos that Alan had posted, I was pretty certain that my students would be absolutely crazy about this site. They got such a kick out of listening to their OWN voices that I can’t imagine what they will do with this tool. I want to have them create a character in Creative Writing class and either find a picture on Compfight to accompany their writing, or draw one of their own that I will photograph and upload to Blabberize. I tried the site myself and it was so simple and a lot of fun! I used this tutorial and it made using Blabberize a breeze. You can check out my talking dog, inspired by Domino, below!
The next thing I wanted to try was a comic tool. I wanted to find something that I can use in the classroom, and Bubblr and Pikistrips seemed to be the simplest options to begin with. Unfortunately, Pikistrips’ site was down for maintenance, so I will have to try that at a different point. I chosse Bubblr and again, I couldn’t believe the simplicity. Bubblr lets you caption photos found on Flickr, and I have no doubt that my students would love this site, as I had a lot of fun with it!
(I have tried over and over to get this picture to be embedded into my blog. I copy and paste the text that I’m given when I request to “share it,” and I paste it in to the HTML version, but I can’t get it to work. I put it into a link for now. Can someone please help me with this, as well as the Animoto video below? Thank you so much!!)
The last tool that I decided to try was Animoto. I had heard from a colleague how easy it is to use Animoto to create professional-looking slideshows. A few minutes on the site and I was regretting the amount of time I spent using iMovie to create my wedding slideshow, as this program is SO easy to use. Moreover, I was able to sign up for a free educator’s account with unlimited video creation. Hooray! I was able to quickly start my video, as my educator’s account was instantly approved. Unfortunately, I had to upload my pictures twice, as the first time Animoto hung up halfway through my upload. However, once my photos were uploaded, everything fell into place so easily. I also wasn’t very keen on only using 50 letters to caption my photos, and how you can only write on a slide by adding font to a picture in Photoshop, then uploading the picture. Oh well, perhaps these features will be added in the future. Keeping with the dog theme, I bring you Lucy, Animoto-version!
Before I conclude this blog post, I want to recommend two other great digital storytelling sites. The first is Blurb. My wedding photographer created an album for us by uploading our pictures into Blurb. I cannot compare it to other photo book sites, as I have not had experience creating books of my own, but she swears by this site, and the end result is of such beautiful quality. A friend of mine takes pictures of her children and makes them into storybooks for the kids using this site.
The second tool that I want to recommend is an App for the iPhone called 8mm Vintage Camera. This App allows you to shoot video in a vintage 8mm style. Our photographer, Carey Shaw, created this video of our wedding using the App, uploaded music to it, and pieced the mini-videos together. (If anyone needs a photographer, I HIGHLY recommend her!)
I had fun using these tools and although I am feeling the stress of November as a teacher and student, at least I know that these tools will be online, waiting for me to try when I have more free time. Have a great week, everyone!