Kim’s Blog

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Archive for March, 2009

Animoto

I discovered this program called Animoto from Leanne’s blog and I meant to try using this tool for our pancake movie but forgot about it until after I was done. So this is a short 30 second blip to try Animoto. It was quick, easy to use, has images and music available for people to access.
[clearspring_widget title=”Animoto.com” wid=”46928cc51133af17″ pid=”49d248cc56fd5e5d” width=”432″ height=”240″ domain=”widgets.clearspring.com”]

I have learned a lot using this tool – sometimes I feel so stupid!  I was trying to find the URL to link this video and I actually kept sending this video to myself all the while not realizing it!  This is even easier than I thought – now that I have it figured out. 

Simple – set up an account (1 minute), choose a theme, choose images within the theme, choose your favorite type of music, choose a specific song, click on edit (in all 4 minutes), wait for processing (maybe 5 minutes), choose from about six choices of what you would like to do (such as download, e-mail, embed, etc. – less than 1 minute), once posted to blog – locate under edits and voila – it’s done!

Waiting…

Today my students presented a play for their parents at lunch time. We worked all week to learn lines, to learn where students should stand and how students could act, we painted backgrounds and we made masks.  The kids were SO excited for their parents to come to school and to perform the play.  I told them that I would record the performance and upload it to our wiki for those parents who were unable to come.  I also explained that we would make and wear masks for the recorded performance only.

I decided to try one of the new flip cameras at school.  I really liked the ease of use while I recorded.  I liked the way that I could hold the camera with just one hand.  I had trouble loading the videos on my computer at school because there are so many cords beside the ports that I could not connect the flip camera.  I tried to load the videos on one of the laptops.  I could connect the camera itself but I could not get the program up and running.  I brought the camera home and I was able to quickly load the videos.

Once the videos were loaded, there was a program that put everything into a video.  For some reason I opted for background music and after waiting for 10 minutes for everything to configure and do it’s thing, I realized that was a dumb idea so I opted for no background music, and waited another 10 minutes.  I watched the complete video only to realize that I had a double video in there and I didn’t want to edit and wait another 10 minutes so I decided to use my tried and true, Window Movie Maker program.  It has it’s own glitches but I know those glitches and what to do with them.

The other thing I like about the Windows Movie Maker is that I can add titles, animation and I can add transitions.  I put the video together, saved it, and waited another five minutes for this process to take place.  Please keep in mind that this play is only three minutes long!

I then went to add the video to our class wiki, only to then realize that I have to convert it to YouTube as I have not figured out a way to simply add a video from my library to the wiki.  Right now I’m waiting for YouTube to save this video (it’s been 10 minutes already!).  Ooh, now it’s uploaded, but processing (I’m taking bets – 10 minutes?).

Enjoy!

In Response to EdTechTalk

I “attended” an EdTechTalk discussion this evening. The topic was Teachers Teaching Teachers. We got off to a late start because of regular parent/teacher-type events. I found it so amazing to hear one man say that he watched his son’s ball game in the South Bronx. Well, the first amazing fact is that we are living under a layer of ice and to think of playing ball right now is outrageous! (Who knows, maybe it was an indoor game – yes, that makes me feel much better!). The second amazing fact is that I was listening to a guy from the Bronx – in my life, I only interact with people from the Bronx in the movies. There was also someone from Sacramento, Louisiana, and Boston among other locales. The Canadians were warmly welcomed to the group as we introduced ourselves.
There was a man who led the discussion – I think his name was Paul. I’m not sure because I could only hear his voice. Susan was another leader and she wrote greetings and requested introductions from everyone who entered the room.
I noted that issues in education are not isolated to certain schools, school divisions, or even countries. There are a number of differences between the educational systems in Canada and the States, and yet the discussions revolved around getting kids engaged and how to go about this by using technology.
Paul posed an open-ended question which I misinterpreted. I typed a response and then realized I was off topic. He asked what the top five habits you would hope to instill in your students include. After I typed my response as wishing my students to be polite and show respect, I realized that he was pushing for writing habits. Oops! Susan then sent me a message that asked me to Skype. I have to admit that I became a chicken. I don’t know how to Skype and I was scared to try it out so I quickly responded that I didn’t have Skype. Which really isn’t a lie because I don’t really know if I have access or not. But to be honest, I was really hoping I didn’t have it!

I found a new term I need to investigate – Sprout.  From what I understand from the conversation, it’s a template for students (and teachers) to create websites.  It sounds like something I might like to check out.

I found the panel and the guests to be dedicated educators.  They were very welcoming and respectful to the new “lurkers”.  I can’t see myself dedicating my free time every week to attend these sessions but I might tag the calendarand join in the chat rooms which show some promise to my interests.  Most of the issues discussed this evening related more to older students and although an educational experience for me, I felt a bit out of place when people were talking about encouraging students to develop “I questions” while I hope for a sentence each day beginning with a capital and ending with some form of punctuation.  I see a topic tomorrow about 21st Century Learning but I’m not sure how I could manage this at 11am while I’m supposed to be teaching.  Maybe I need to find a tool that allows me to multi-task by cloning myself.  (another possible final project?)

In Response to March 24th Class

So, technology did not work as planned and I did not receive my weekly instructions via e-mail.  However, everything happens for a reason.  As I started connecting with people through e-mail and on Twitter, a number of students from our class created an instant learning community where we shared and asked questions.  It was a great experience and I thank those who shared the experience with me.  This also gave me some time to work on my class wiki and create a wordle for our upcoming play on Friday.  Inserting this wordle was a bit of a challenge for me to figure out but here it is:
Wordle: The Big Pancake Play

I think I might have my students create their own wordles if I can find a way to upload them on classblogmeister.com (I’m still not completely sold on this yet).  Maybe I should have created a site for class blogs as my final project.  Nothing like biting off more than I can chew!

Technology and Sports

The North Battleford Comprehensive High Senior Boys Basketball team are the provincial champs (and to you Meadow Lake fans – it was a hard fought battle; a great final with a great team which easily could have gone either way). 

Why does this matter to me?  My husband is the coach.  He has coached this team for the past eight years and as we investigated the history of NBCHS and Hoopla, we realized this was the first win ever for the Comp.  The trophy dates back to 1967.  The closest they came was in 2006 when they won silver.  My husband dedicates hours for practice during the week and hours on the weekends for tournaments.  The win makes these hours seem worthwhile.

What does this have to do with technology?  Well, since the Star Phoenix and CTV News seem to only recognize Saskatoon and Regina teams as well as a few other teams and divisions, it becomes necessary for people who are unable to attend the games to find other ways to discover the outcomes of games.  Now that all of the hoopla is over, my husband has been contacted by these news sources in an effort to report the results but nothing had been mentioned pre-hoopla.  We were able to access theSHSAAwebsite (which needs to be updated and more user friendly by the way) to see the draws, scores and brief write ups about the games.  The players and the coach are able to instantly text or phone with cel phones to notify family and friends of game outcomes.  As my husband drives into town, the kids can contact family to make arrangements for rides home from the school. 

Who knew that technology could have such an impact on sports?

Connecting Like Cavemen

I have been experiencing a strained relationship with my daughter recently.  I know that because of my studies, I have not devoted as much time to my children as they evidently need.  On Friday night we found ourselves alone together as my husband was out of town and my other daughter was at a sleep over.  Usually, my oldest has swim practice on Friday evenings.  I do not allow her to miss her events except for special circumstances, and this seemed like a special circumstance. 

I was faced with the choice of making her go to swim practice or spending quality time together – just the two of us.  Well, the answer seemed obvious to me and necessary to make a connection with her.  I then thought about her interests – how would we spend this time together?  She’s a nature nut, so that answer quickly became obvious too.  

After school we picked up the dog, bought a few groceries and headed to an island between the two communities we live and work in.  We took the dog (and ourselves) for a very long nature walk.  After our nature walk we picked up our supplies from the van, found a fire pit, built a fire, roasted wieners and marshmallows, and connected like cavemen – no we didn’t wrestle around or hunt mammoths, but we connected without talking, without distractions.  We didn’t say a lot, we didn’t discuss our problems, although we easily could have.  Instead we listened to the wind rustle the dry leaves left hanging in the trees, we listened to the fire crackle, and my daughter’s favorite – we listened to the snow sizzle when we put out the fire. 

We connected on a human level.  I have been making a number of connections throughout my journey – connecting with classmates, connecting with parents and students, social networks and connecting ideas but I have been missing the most important connection of all – the connections I have(n’t) been making with my own children.

Okay, I have to admit that I did bring some 21st century technology with me to our caveman experience – a cel phone, but I can explain!!!  As I was playing around with the pictures from my cel phone, I realized that I could create a cartoon of my daughter so I could upload her picture onto my blog without showing her face!

winter wiener roast

Writing With Technology

As I write the last few words for my project paper, I relfect on how I have used technology during this journey.  I have used technology and technology has eased this writing process. 

Then – I completed my undergraduate degree in 1994.  At that time, any books or journals I used for research were accessed in a library.  As for the writing, I used a finicky computer which my father generously allowed my roomates and I to use for our undergraduate studies.  Once the computer was turned on, three floppy disks needed to be inserted in a specific order at specific times.  If not done correctly, the computer would not function.  When it did function, it was really only a glorified typewriter.  The only benefit was that if I made a mistake, I could correct it before it was printed out although I was the sole spell-checker; the program did not include a spell-check. 

Now – I did not physically visit a library for this project but I made more use of online journals than I ever used print journals for my undergraduate degree.  Not only can I access any number of journals, many others can access these same journals at the same time.  I don’t have to wait for someone to return something I may think I might need only to find out after a long wait that it really doesn’t work for my purposes.  As I find useful journals, I need only click a button for the citation.  All of these journals and online resources can be referred to as I write and with many windows open at one time I really feel like I can mutli-task.   As I have completed each section, I have e-mailed the sections to a friend to edit and make suggestions.  I get a near instant reaction to my work (my friend is a very quick editor!).  Now if only a computer could read my thoughts and transmit my thoughts into words which are written better than I can write!  Maybe as I pursue my next degree…