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Monday, October 15, 2007


Tokbox is a free video chat tool that doesn't require the download of any software. You only need a basic webcam and microphone to get started. In addition to doing video chat you can also send video e-mails to your friends who may not be available for a chat. You can embed a video chat window within your site or blog much like the one shown below so that people can initiate chats with you. It isn't necessary to have an account with any of the major chat tools. You simply sign up with Tokbox and you are on your way!

Get your own TokBox at

Friday, October 12, 2007

Digital Video in Practice: Part 5

This posting features a video created by a student to chronicle the journey of a new immigrant from Europe to America. It's told from the perspective of a young boy and uses only still images, music and narration. The video was made with iMovie but could have easily been created with a variety of other editing tools. You can find this video, along with many others, in the Apple showcase of projects. What I really like about this video is that it requires the student to demonstrate his knowledge of the issues early immigrants faced when traveling to America. He also has to show competency in being able to write a coherent script and make decisions about what images would fit best based on the narration. The use of video as a medium to convey his message works very well and allows him the ability to express a level of creativity that would be difficult to match in another format. The video is called A New Life and I encourage you to check it out as well as the other videos featured in the showcase.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Digital Video in Practice: Part 4

At first glance you may wonder, how does the Evolution of Dance video have any educational value and why is he bothering to share it as an example of Digital Video in practice? These are both very valid questions that I will attempt to address. First of all, I think this video provides an excellent example of how music and visual imagery can be combined to tell a story, convey meaning and express emotions without the need for the written or spoken word. I also think this video illustrates a very creative way to approach the study of history, culture and the influence of music on society. In addition to the original Evolution of Dance video I have included some adaptations done by different school groups. I think this illustrates the power of multimedia to motivate people to their own works of art. Watch and enjoy.

The Evolution of Dance (Original)

History of Dance (Middle School Version)

Pacific Elementary's Evolution of Dance

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Digital Video in Practice: Part 3

This post features Mrs. Burk the rapping math teacher who has a series of short videos posted in TeacherTube. In these videos she covers a variety of math concepts by singing a simple rap to some funky music. It's a great way to help kids learn and a great idea for a digital video project for students. They could write their own raps, songs, poems, rhymes or whatever and then create a short video to help demonstrate their knowledge of a concept and help teach others. As you watch this video your first reaction might be, "This lady is making a fool out of herself." But I bet her students know perimeter and area really well.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Digital Video in Practice: Part 2

Part 2 in this series of blog entries features the Amazing Color Changing Card Trick video that at first glance seems to be mostly about, surprisingly enough, a card trick. The video is really a great way to teach about selective attention and what we might miss when we are so focused on specific details. I think this could be an effective way to help kids realize that sometimes they need to look beyond the obvious to see the whole picture. It could also lead into a conversation of the danger of only seeing what we are told to look at.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Digital Video in Practice: Part 1

For this week I am going to share a different digital video that could be used to accomplish some kind of educational goal in a k-12 setting. I may also share an example of how a teacher is using digital videos (either student created or teacher created) to teach some part of the content. The video I would like to share in this post does a great job of showing how the Internet has evolved with the advent of Web 2.0 tools that allow the casual user to contribute to online content. This video is called The Machine is Us/ing Us and can be viewed below. I think this video raises a lot of issues and makes very clear that our approach to using technology in the classroom has to evolve to reflect the wide range of tools and capabilities that are available to us.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Podcasts in Practice Part 5

The final podcast that I will share this week is the Coulee Kids' Podcast from Longfellow Middle School in Wisconsin. These podcasts are created by seventh grade students in their writing class but the topics span across a variety of content areas. They define their podcasts as "enhanced" podcasts largely because they include images so they are more like mini videos. You have to subscribe through iTunes in order to view the podcasts but they are worth the look and listen. This is another great example of how podcasts can be used to allow students to demonstrate their comprehension of a topic area while also allowing them to use their creativity.

Podcasts in Practice Part 4

Chris Shamburg teaches a high school English course called Podcasting and Creative Audio, which sounds like a great class and I wish it was available when I was in high school. Check out the different podcasts and assignments at his blog, which uses the same theme from Blogger as I use in my blog so you may feel like you never left the Ed Tech in Teacher Ed blog. I think this blog has some great ideas for podcasts but also some very creative assignment ideas that could be adapted to other English classes even if you weren't going to use podcasts.

Google Custom Search

There is yet another new tool from Google that has great potential for use in k-12 classrooms. It's called the Google Custom Search Engine and it allows you to define the individual pages you want included when your students conduct a keyword search. You can include as many or as few sites in your custom search engine as you want. The nice thing about this is that you can provide students with the experience of searching online for information knowing that they are only going to be searching through the sites you have specified. That way, they get the practice of conducting keyword searches without having to weed through 3 million sites that are returned in their searches. One thing to remember is that this is not a filter system in that it won't keep students from clicking away from a site in your approved list once they navigate to it. You can create multiple custom search engines or just have one and you can embed the search engines in your blog or webpage as a way to make it available to students.

Copyright for Dummies

Here is a great site by Tom Woodward that explains copyright by focusing on what teachers and students can do rather than emphasizing what they can't do. The site is clearly organized and uses green highlighting to denote the things you can do, yellow for the things you usually can do and red for the things you can never do. I strongly encourage you to look this over if you have any questions about what is legal in regards to copyright.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Podcasts in Practice Part 3

The Downs FM is an example of how a school in the UK is using podcasting to create their own radio show. Many of the students contribute to the radio show with different segments, news items, jokes and more. They don't appear to have any new segments for the current school year but you can listen to shows from last year to see what they did. I hope there will be some new segments coming online very soon. One thing that seems apparent to me as I listen to the podcasts from The Downs FM and other sites like it is the excitement and enthusiasm from the students. I think that is a great benefit of using a technology like this. There is no law that says kids can't have fun when they are learning.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Podcasts in Practice Part 2

Mr. Langhorst's 8th Grade American History website is the featured example of podcasting for this post. In addition to student podcasts, there are a series of Study Casts on this site as well. Study Casts are podcast reviews of units of study created by Mr. Langhorst for the students to use when they are preparing for upcoming tests. This seems like a great way to help students focus on the salient content of a unit and communicate to them the important information they need to be aware of before a test. It also provides students with another mode of learning and will certainly benefit those in his class who are aural learners. The study casts are found primarily on the homepage at the link above. You can also find many more examples of how he is using podcasts at his Speaking History blog, which has a very clever idea for teaching the Declaration of Independence as a break-up letter. Check it out!