Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Blog #2 Reel Viewing

'Digital World: Kids Today' from YouTube is an interesting video commentary about social networking and the digital generation of learners today.

Exploring video sharing sites this past week was thoroughly enjoyable! Sites such as YouTube and TeacherTube can offer up online consumers video sharing and video viewing in educational capacities, consisting of a wide range of subject material for all grade levels. I found a couple distinct differences between incorporating video sharing sites versus photo sharing in an instructional setting. First, students and teachers are able to freely access both YouTube and TeacherTube sites in my school (something which was not the case for the photo sharing sites). Also, I am more familiar with using the video sites to compliment or supplement instruction in the classroom and have used video sharing sites much more so than photo sharing sites.

One little glitch I experienced that caused a few days of grief was trying to upload a video into my blog. I could not find the 'edit html' button and kept receiving error messages in the process. I used Blogger help, and thought the instructions were outlined in a straight-forward manner. It took a couple days to figure out that I was missing a default command in my global compose settings. Life was good after the setting was changed and saved.

I invested many hours this past week sifting through both sites and really value the multimedia perspective video can bring into any classroom. Both sites are easy for users navigate through and all viewers will find a plethora of video choices from a vast array of subject areas. The only negative experience researching this topic was the significant difference between the amount of time it takes to load and play a video on a school computer compared to the time it took on my home laptop. much my researching for appropriate videos to compliment lessons at school are usually conducted at home.

I discovered that YouTube is not only used for video sharing but also an avenue for video blogging as another outlet for young people to live their lives 'virtually'. According to Wikipedia video blogging (also called vlogging) is when blogs are embedded into a video format (Wikipedia, 2008). Video blogging has become more popular over the past couple years with regular bloggers. Many vloggers on YouTube have sequential numbering included in their titles, making the process of following video blogs that much easier. I conducted a search of Web 2.0 vlogs on YouTube and was pleasantly surprised to have an over abundance of video blogs to view. My viewing choices included titles such as ‘Web 2.0 is not the future of education’ to ‘Web 2.0 and its benefits for the students’ education’. Comparing those contrasting titles alone tells me that many people have much to share through video blogging. The interesting possibilities are endless when it comes to thinking of ways that students can incorporate video blogging into their learning. This format would lend itself to be a creative format for students to record an inquiry project from start to finish.

There are a couple features about TeacherTube that I appreciate as an educator. The top menu bar on the screen displays helpful links to guide users through the most popular, most viewed and favourite videos on the site. This quick reference can help educators see what others find worthy of viewing. Through the online sharing format, TeacherTube continues to meet one of their goals of trying to promote the online educational sharing of instructional videos.

Last year in the spring my school hosted a school-wide ‘Literacy Week’ to promote literacy, authors, and reading. During this week I hosted a Comic CafĂ© to launch new comic books and graphic novels purchased for the school library collection. As I promoted this genre throughout various grade levels, I discovered that there was an enthusiastic fan base of graphic novel readers in the school. What was really interesting was that a couple of students indicated to me that they were excited about some of the new graphic novel series added to the school collection because they were fans of the manga videos posted on YouTube. Posted here you will see one short video excerpt from the original manga series Fruits Basket. I had no idea that YouTube contained videos to compliment the Japanese print series. Since learning from my students that manga videos were available on YouTube I began using short video clips to promote various books, authors and reading.

Exploring around Beth’s Thoughts on Technology in the Classroom blog, I found one past post where she had posted a wiki listing of all of her favourite videos, podcasts and slides to share regarding 21st century learning and technology. What a wonderful idea to have a narrowed list of quality videos that have been viewed and approved of by a leading educational technology expert!

Some other video sharing sites I chose to explore this week include:
One World TV
This site based out of the UK is an online video sharing community focused on climate change and global justice.
Big Think
Contains accessible interviews from today’s leaders, academic thinkers and celebrity activists.
Yahoo! Video
Not only is Yahoo a popular search engine, but also host to an online video sharing community.

Yes, there are plenty of choices to make when it comes to video sharing and video viewing sites personally and professionally. Educators must take time to determine which online communities are appropriate to use and which sites work best for potentially uploading and/or sharing educational video experiences at school.

Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia. (2008). Video Blogging. Retrieved
September 26, 2008 from

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Blog #1 Dare to Photo Share

I have perused photo sharing sites in the past, but have not used any sites to personally or professionally upload photos for sharing. The two main sites I explored this week were Picasa and Flickr. My experiences exploring both formats were quite different and I have some unresolved problems yet to figure out. One being unable to upload a movie of photos I created Picasa, the other one not being able to establish different photo sets in separate photostreams.

In the initial creation of my blog I used Flickr to upload book cover images of my favourite children’s books and place them in a slideshow. My immediate response to Flickr was ‘wow, this is easy and fun at the same time’. However, this past week presented multiple challenges that in the end were not resolved as stated above.

After the fiasco of having my travel pictures mix into the same photostream as my children’s literature pictures, I decided to investigate the workings of Picasa 3. Couple key elements that make Picasa a great photo sharing tool include:
- Great editing, tuning and special effects
- Collage and movie options
- Direct ‘sync to the web’ into Google
- Post photos directly to a blog
I spent time creating photo collages and movies, editing pictures and creating photo files to get a sense of all of the possibilities these two photo sites had to offer in the world of education…actually the possibilities of creative learning are endless. One project I would love to try out would be to create a digital photo portfolio for students, documenting their school year through photos and keeping them organized chronologically in files. At the end of a school year students would have a great digital album to take home.

My biggest concern with sites like Flickr and Picasa is that in order to have students experience these sites they must create online accounts. Students in my school district do have open access to sign up for Google or Yahoo accounts as both sites are blocked.

Through reading Kathy Schrock’s ‘Kaffeeklatsch’ blog this past week I was introduced to Dumpr. Dumpr is an easy to use photo site for creating fun photos to save, share, print, blog or upload to social networking sites. Users are not required to create accounts to upload and print pictures. There is would be a great learning opportunity to teach young students how to upload digital pictures, choose a fun format in which to view the picture and print.

I did check out some of the recommended sites from the “Digital Storytelling” article by Linda C. Joseph. One site worthy of mention is BubbleShare. I did not explore the inner workings of this site (as I just didn’t need to register for another online account this week), instead I surfed the site on the surface. This site really plays to the younger audience with enjoyable clipart, fun frames, and a calendar maker. What differentiates this site from Flickr is that it promotes unlimited space for users.

Photo sharing sites promote ‘digital storytelling’ through the photo lens of the user!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Another Cool Photo Site...

This Rubik's Cube photo was created on Dumpr.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Wonderful World of Wordle

I created this fun technology picture through The workings of Wordle is wonderful. One of the blogs I am following is Joel Ralph's titled 'The New Digital History Education'. This blog explores how educators can use technology to enhance experiences in education in the social sciences and humanities for studets. While reading his blog I came across an interesting piece of digital artwork that he created using Wordle. He points out some of the creative uses for this website in relation language arts and literacy.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Wordle Wonders

Flickr Has Flickr'd Me Into Frustration!

Well, Flickr has presented some frustrations over the last 24 hours. I decided to upload some travel pictures and begin to create the next assignment. I placed my 'Children's Literature' downloads in one set, and my new photos in a different set. For some reason they combined together and I had one giant mixed up slideshow on my blog. I spent hours last night, and again this afternoon trying to fix a mixed up photostream. I ended up deleting all my uploads and started from the beginning.

Cuban Crisis Converted

I created a movie in Picasa of pictures from my Spring Break 2008 trip to Cuba. The movie plays in Picasa but I could not upload the video into my blog. Not sure why? Instead I had to compromise and build a collage from few favourites.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

IN2N with Blogging

I'm not sure what to expect…

How does one make a commitment to a blogger program when one doesn’t blog? There are so many decisions to be made. My journey started by taking time to view templates within some recommended programs. I would equate the experience to browsing eye-catching book covers on the 'new releases' shelf at Chapters. I was shopping around to see what template caught my eye. Spending time navigating around the blogs from the previous section of this course also helped establish Blogger as my choice. Once I made the commitment to 'minima dark' a brand new baby blog was created! I quickly celebrated by sending out 'blog announcement' emails to all my friends and family.

So far I am impressed with the ease in which I can create and design a customized template. As a beginner blogger one important criteria for me was that the application be 'user friendly' enough not to have to worry about wrestling with technical malfunctions, but instead be easily engaging enough to support the creative development of content as each week brings new expectations in the Web 2.0 assignments.

As a teacher-librarian I am always trying to keep myself 'IN2N' with current technologies in relation to curriculum and instruction. One question that I have repeatedly asked myself is 'What role do teacher-librarians, as media specialists, have in a school as technology leaders?' Growing up in a digital information age, students have accomplished technical skills such as downloading and instant messaging. Leadership in the higher-level digital literacies are needed in this information age and teacher-librarians can position themselves to take on the role. Technology has rapidly advanced the past few years to include a list such as podcasting, social networking, and video-conferencing. The Web 2.0 is included among the list of current technologies that has advanced the Internet and has the capabilities to embrace collaboration and inquiry in today's classroom.

I'm still not sure what to expect...Web 2.0 possibilities are enormous...Oh, the places we'll go!