Monday, April 30, 2007

Academic Aesthetic 140

Behold, my 140th podcast! View it! Cherish it! Pause it at random moments and laugh at the funny faces I make!

... no, wait. Scratch that last one ...

In any case, most of this video was taken during day 2 of MICCA.

Show notes:

  • She didn't leave her name, but I think it's a plug from Gwyneth Jones!

  • Another plug from Will Richardson! WILL RICHARDSON!!

  • Getting in early. Why?

  • Picking a session. Sometimes the lesser known presenters are just as good but with more seats available.

  • Commentary by Mark Young!

  • Wondering where we'll be in 5 years...

  • Stopped by security. Oops. (No problems after I said I was a presenter.)

  • Buy David Warlick's books! Put his son through college! (What, you don't know who David Warlick is? For shame!)

  • National conferences are cool, but state and local conferences have art shows. Just sayin'...

  • Silliness

  • Now that we've learned all this new stuff, how are we going to use it in the classroom?

  • Read that last one again. It's that important.

  • Submit some audio or video! (Ok, you can email it to me instead if you don't like the web based format...) My 150th podcast is coming up, and I'd like to include more stuff created by other people.

  • A little bit of a surprise at the end. I'm not saying what, though...

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Session 8: Let's Tell a Story

hpim5454.JPGThis presentation by Melinda Kolk is showcasing software by Tech4Learning. This isn't the first time I've met up with someone from that company.

They have more than one product, the first they're showing is a program called Frames that can be used to make animations out of still images. iMovie has the same functionality, but its interface isn't designed specifically for that. Frames' interface is.

She's admitted that iMovie and Photostory have similar functionality. It's not about the technology, it's about how these kids are learning.

Each of these videos she's showing is helping to reinforce "core" (I still dislike that label) content areas. Some of them involve cross-grade collaboration, which is neat.

Session 7: Digital Filmmaking - A Beginner's Journey

hpim5450.JPGPresented by Kimberly Dyar & Beth Jacobs.

I was a little late coming in, but they're talking about how easy it was to pick up the skills needed to use iMovie. After one teacher got help, she had the skills to help others.

Camera angles


Does the music match the mood?hpim5451.JPG

Students made public service announcements after looking at some examples. They started with a worksheet to build their ideas. Te students actually had trouble creating one clear idea - instead, they wanted to write scripts.

They still have handouts, but most of it's on a CD. When I first came to MICCA everything was on a paper handout, sometimes 20 pages thick. Now, most presenters seem to have at least some form of digital version.

Pan and zoom shots were forbidden, so they could think more about composition and less about home movies.

They also talked about some space before and after the dialog so it wouldn't get clipped off by the transitions. That makes sense, although do they always need to have transitions? Still, you can always cut out the quiet times if they don't go with the commercials pacing.

Identify camera angles in examples before you set them loose.

Don't describe the shot - draw it in the storyboard.


  • Buy an external firewire drive.

  • Buy the warranty.

  • External battery charger.

  • Tripods. They got theirs from Big Lots, I found mine at flea markets and Goodwill stores.

  • External microphones.

  • Buy 1 to try out, but then standardize your equipment. Every manufacturer has their quirks.

  • Get a book called "Digital Photography for Teens." Not sure I'll buy the book, but you might wish to do so.

  • Consent & Release forms.

  • Save the tapes until the students have finished their projects. They're backups!

  • Small group camera instruction as teams finished their storyboards were more manageable.

  • Win over an administrator before you get started.

  • Demonstrate how the equipment can serve the entire school community.

Several students were special ed, and it all still worked. (I'm not shocked - every time I give my special ed kids an opportunity they rise to the occasion.)

They're talking about sharing the project with every teacher / administrator / supervisor that will listen - the support followed.

Fund raising idea: The class with the LEAST money won. It became subversive as students gave to other teachers.

Be concise when planning the budget.

Session 6: Using a Wiki to Take the Learning Home

hpim5449.JPGPresented by Richard Smart, who actually does have a website. Tell the truth, he has two of them. The paper handout is secondary, and the linksare on the first slide.

"Is this useful?" vs. "What is this useful for?"

1.5 million articles on Wikipedia by March 22nd, 2007.

He's got the point of wikis - they're fully collaborative pages.

3 features that make wikis cool:

  1. Editable articles.

  2. Discussion pages for those articles.

  3. Saves a history of all the changes.

Use the wiki to create a database on any subject: Over 2 weeks, his entire class wrote an article on his wiki on the Enlightenment. It was a group report.

Set quotas! Example: "Here's a list of vocab words. You need to post 5 definitions and edit 3 definitions posted by others."

If I have a classroom next year, I will be building a mini lab. If I have access to a lab every day, my kids can create their own textbook one chapter at a time. This is really cool stuff.

Have students post their reports to a wiki, then use the discussion board feature to critique each other's work.

Build a class website. (There may be a couple examples of that in my sidebar. Just sayin' ...)

Listing wiki services. His favorite is Wikispaces, since they provide ad free wikis to K-12 teachers.

(This presenter is British. That's cool, but his accent is making me want to put the letter "U" in certain words. I don't think that's a bad thing, provided they're the right words.) :)

Talking about security, safety, & vandalism. Good topics, too much to blog here and do the conversation justice. Suffice to say, there's a good chance that instead of Wikispaces I'll use MediaWiki on my server. I'll have much more control over everything that way, although granted it's not a free alternative since I'm paying for a server.

Ha! He posted inaccurate information on one of his wiki pages and waited to see if a student would correct it. It took 4 days for someone to notice.

The first case of plagiarism led to a class discussion on the subject. After the potential for class-wide humiliation, his students started policing themselves. Nice.

"This is Thanksgiving Day, stop posting!"  "Mr. Smart, stop checking your email!"  :D

Extended deadlines facilitate usage by students without internet access at home.  They can always visit the local library, they just can't visit every day.

He gives alternate assignments sometimes, but not every time.

Session 5: Linking Technology to Language and Fine Arts

hpim5447.JPGWoohoo, tech and fine arts! This one's presented by Magdalena Fitzsimmons.

Started off with a warm-up asking for the elements of visual arts and music, then went into justifying the existence of an arts program in the schools.

Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education

Arts help build and reinforce the transfer of knowledge.

A mention of Howard Gardner and his theory of multiple intelligences. His books are difficult to read, but the ideas are worth knowing.

Arts Integration "IS" and "ISN'T" time. It's not just doing a song about birds because the students are learning about birds. It needs equal emphasis on both academics and the arts.

She's showing examples for use in a lab, but the examples are printed out into a handout. I wonder if she has a website ... I can find online profiles, but that's it.

One example involves a graphic organizer that includes hyperlinks to media files.  The teacher prepares that in advance, then the students complete the organizer.  Not a bad way to get low-tech kids (& teachers) started.

She's only playing songs that have no English words so the students focus on the music rather than the lyrics.  Good idea.

How might I do that with visual arts?  Show abstract art?  Cut out or zoom in on portions of the composition?  I'll have to give this some thought.

Thursday's Keynote: David Warlick!

There are still a few presenters here that have printed handouts. David Warlick is not one of those people. Tags: flat, classroom, warlick

There's a password, but I won't blog that.

Taking a tour of the classroom of the future. Mr. Warlick is using his trademark sense of humor.

The words "World" and "Flat" have been used in combination with the word "is." A major requirement for ed-tech keynote speakers has been fulfilled.

"What do I need to know, in order to be a part of this increasingly cooperative world?"

"He's not investing in the technology! He's investing in the story!"

Talking about "the long tail." Basically, and other online companies make more money off of the old stuff than the new releases. Sales/item goes down over time, but there are so many items. This makes sense - most traffic to this site is from web searches that link to posts I wrote months (or longer) ago.

Buy Warlick's books! Put his son through college!

"Our job is not to teach kids what to read and what not to read." Our job is to help them make that decision.

Talking about Pluto and Wikipedia. I think Pluto got a bad rap, but that's my opinion.

"When we have new questions, where do the new answers come from?"

RSS demonstration.

Winter of 2004: Warlick started listening to blogs instead of just talking through them. It became a conversation.

RSS can be used to build a "Personal Learning Network."

"Pay attention to the information experiences that [our kids] have adopted! Respect what they have made of their world! A world that is both getting smaller and infinitely richer!"

Before Thursday's Keynote

It figures - just when I tried to post to Jaiku about the wifi working, the wifi went down.  This was a problem in the morning last year as well, but I don't recall the access being as spotty as it is this year in the rooms for the concurrent sessions.  Some are great, others you're lucky if you can get a page to load.

It's back up a little bit (enough for me to load this page), but not enough to really follow along if David Warlick mentions any cool new sites during his keynote.

Aaaand, now it's down again.  I need to stop talking about this before I become obsessed, but it's true that one of the elements of a modern ed-tech conference these days is a stable wifi connection.  (If it can get Steve Dembo to dance like Snoopy, it has to be good!)

Before we got started this morning I got to talk to several cool people, including this year's MICCA Teacher Of The Year (An art teacher!  Woohoo!).  Of course David Warlick pulled out his iTalk and asked us what we liked about MICCA so far.  It pays to be an early bird.  (I wasn't going to be a shameless self-promoter of my own site for that recording, but Mr. Warlick asked so I had no choice but to answer.)

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Academic Aesthetic 139

My first of two days at MICCA, so of course I'm playing with my video camera again. I presented today, but only a small section of this episode addresses my session.

Show Notes:

Post Presentation...

It occurs to me now that although this site does have a link to my Free Online Resources wiki, it's so far down on the list that even I had trouble finding it.

So ....

Here it is again:

Session 3: Digital Photography and Video Projects for Improving Learning

snipshot_hi_e46marw9dld.jpgPresented by Dr. Arnie Abrams. I've never seen Dr. Abrams present before, but he has some good ideas.

Photojournalism - tell a story, news or otherwise.

Digital ethics - nice. More people need to talk about how the camera can (and often does) lie.

Commercial assignment - more specifically, have the students create a commercial that advertises a product. The video he showed had students using aliases in the credits, wich is a nice idea.

Storyboarding instructions without words.

I may have to leave early to get to my own session on time. I hope not.

The last example had copyrighted music in it. Teachable moment about copyright infringement?

"Everyone's a reporter."

He talks about "Single Frame Animation." I know it as "Stop Motion Animation." To each their own.

Send digital photos back to the host after a field trip.

Time shifting - a look on the present from the viewpoint of the future.

Digital scavenger hunts - those are fun.

Visual seating charts - one of my schools uses photos on a chart so the Kindergarten teachers and students know who gets on which bus.

He's reccomending software at this point. Why must PhotoStory be mentioned so often? It's a nice program, but I hear about it more often than PowerPoint nowadays.

Giving tips - keep it under 3 minutes, privacy, copyright, ethics, ethics, ethics.

Sample rubrics.

Gotta go - my sessions on the other side of the continent.

Session 2: Digital Neighbor or Nuisance?

snipshot_hi_e4h3spc55tu.jpgThis session won out over my other choices because it's a forum, not a lecture. It's being moderated by Kate Cave and Bob Cave.

They want to record this. I asked if they would be podcasting it - they just might. If they do, I'll be sure to link to the file.

First a brief presentation, they're emphasizing the brevity. This could easily turn into a full lecture session if they didn't want the forum setting. That's not a complaint.

Kids people can be rude. Is your cell phone on vibrate or off?

"Fear of strangers has instilled a lack of civility in our children." I disagree. I don't think it's kids who are afraid of strangers.

This could quickly turn into a "those darn kids" gripe fest. I hope it doesn't.

UPDATE: It didn't.

On the way to Session 2

Saw David Warlick in the hallway and had a chat.

... I think my voice broke once.

Session 1: Podcast, Vodcast, Screencast Nation

Will Richardson at MICCA 07This session is being presented by the masterful Will Richardson, who is always worth seeing. When I walked in he told me I didn't need to be here (my ego inflates once more), but since it hasn't been that long since I switched from strictly audio to mostly video I'm sure there's more for me to learn.

I'm not the only one using a wiki for my notes: will take you to the handouts for all of his sessions.

Showing off podcasts - Radio Willow Web and Princeton Review Vocab Minute.

iTalk, iRiver, and other podcast recording toys. Some people have different definitions on the word "inexpensive," but at least we can still use our phones.

Audacity, that wonder of free, open source recording software.

If I find one new resource in a session, it's worth my time. Podomatic is that resource.

Onto the video - Will Richardson has a REALLY nice camera. No external mic jack, but nice nonetheless.

Youtube can RECORD video? Wow. I may need to play with that some more.

Izzy Video teaches how to make videos.

Smart Recorder is for SmartBoard presentations, but it's free and works on Mac & Windows. Could screencasts be in my future as well? :)

I taught Will about  Down, ego!  DOWN! :D

Wednesday Keynote

Hall Davidson is a great presenter - forgive me if I blog this presentation with short concise sentences or sentence fragments.

The world is shrinking - "long distance" is no longer a big deal.

"The most dramatic shrinking is between imagination and reality."

"If you do something all the time, the medium becomes invisible to you."

The old "I'm taking your picture and putting it in my presentation." bit.  It's worth repeating.

Kids will tear up the format we give them.  We need to make that relevant.

Still no working wifi, except for Hall who had his set up special.

"We share more than just data."

I left a little early, but only so I could get to Will Richardson's first session without participating in the "running of the bulls" that one might expect.

Before Wednesday's Keynote

You know you've gone to a lot of tech conferences when Hall Davidson (he took my picture, but he took LOTS of pictures) and Will Richardson (he promised to cancel his session that was competing with my own ... I'm sure he was joking ... I think.) both recognize you.  That being said, I still wish we had a few more of these within driving distance of where I live.

My only gripe so far is that the free wifi which MICCA brags about pioneering seems to have gone down.  The signal taunts me, occasionally jumping from one bar to a full signal, but even at full strength it isn't really letting me connect to the outside world.

Mr. Richardson showed me an external card from Verizon that gives him wifi almost anywhere, even when no one else has access.  To be honest, I'd invest in that of these conferences were a more regular occurrence for me.

I'm not worried about my own presentation, though.  Granted, my first choice is to show off the free resources wiki, but if I can't get online I have a PowerPoint with the same info and if that falls through I've got al the slides on my iPod.  If I need more than a "Plan C," then it's not my job to fix the problem.

While I was typing they were presenting awards to the students who won the annual art contest.  Every year it's nice to see some of the stuff that students are capable of churning out using tools that didn't exist 20 years ago when I was their age.

I feel old now.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Academic Aesthetic 138

Hey, where's the audio only version?  I moved that over to Podserve.  Vidcasts like this one will still get posted here, though.

Show notes:

Friday, April 13, 2007

Academic Aesthetic 137 Video

Chris Craft tells me I should register  I think he's right.

Show Notes

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Academic Aesthetic 136 Video

Episode 136 already? It seems like I only started 135 episodes ago!

Show Notes:

Monday, April 09, 2007

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Academic Aesthetic 134

Just a few quick things that I thought were cool:

  • My Art Club students have started teaching each other.

  • Some of my students are linking to my website from sites they've made themselves.  (I won't link to their sites without parental permission, though.

  • Second Life seems to be running better than ever.  When I last used it months and months ago, it took forever to download all the textures and I was often booted when servers went down.

  • I started a Teachers 2.0 group on Ning so I could try it out, and lo and behold people have been joining!  So now you can be a participate on Ning or on the original (and ad free) site.