A Piece of My Mind

my ideas, thoughts, experiences, and lessons learned in education

Entries Tagged as 'Secondary'

Massive #FAIL. AKA: Never give up

August 27, 2013 by woscholar · 5 Comments · Classroom Tools, Elementary, Learning, Secondary, Teaching

Photo Credit: flickr user deeplifequotes

It all seemed easy enough. Christian had spent weeks putting together a 20+ minute iMovie on his iPad using the iMovie app. Basically, it was a BUNCH of pictures we took on our 10 day father-son Montana/Canada fly fishing trip that he ordered and narrated. He was ready to upload it to YouTube for embedding on his blog. Easy enough, right? Well, not so much. What should have been a 15 minute process turned into a day of problem solving.

First of all, Christian broke rule number 1 of any media creation: he deleted his source material before he published the final draft. In his defense, he didn’t know. He wanted to see the preview in iMovie, and to see a higher quality of it, he needed to clear more space on his iPad. So he did what many would do and deleted the pictures he didn’t need. After all, he already put them in his video. Right? Not so much. For those not in the know, you are really only putting a shortcut in the software to the media. You are not putting the media in. Delete your source material, and you have a bunch of blank spots in the video.

What confused him, though, is that the iMovie app showed him a little lower quality preview with all of the pics in place. It would have confused me, too. Keep this in mind: the original files are still not there. Lesson learned on his part.

Since he was seeing it in the preview, I thought maybe it did something different than other video editing software programs and decided to just push it up to YouTube. Fail. His GAFE account limited him to 15 minute max videos. So, I used my GAFE account. It said I was limited to 15 minutes, although I knew that wasn’t true. I swapped to my GMail account. Same problem. This tells me that the iMovie app is set to think all YouTube accounts have a 15 minute max video length. That’s a horrible setting inside the iMovie app, but we have to live within it. Lesson number 2 on the day.

I swapped to my Vimeo account. Another fail. It said I had a 500MB max upload size on my account. That might be true. I don’t know. I don’t use it that much. But, I do have a PRO Vimeo account we use to post higher end, longer videos. It is unlimited, so I figured I could push the video to that, download it to my MacBook, push it to my YouTube account, and then embed it in his blog. (Keep in mind, it would not let me go straight to YouTube.) Failure. Again. It said I had the same limit as my regular account. Lesson number 3 on the day: the iMovie app sees all Vimeo accounts as limited. Another weakness of the iMovie app.

My last option (or so I thought) was to just move the iMovie file to iTunes and open it in iMovie on my Air and push it out from there. Easy enough. Wrong. Lesson number 4 on the day is a loop back to Lesson number one: don’t delete the media before you publish. All I got in iMovie on my Air was a lot of black and no pics. The narration was still stellar, but that was no consolation to him. I did learn how to do this process for the first time as I had never tried it before, so that might be a win.

At this point, I went to lunch. I took him and my wife to Pizza Hut to try to get a mental break. After what amounted to two large pizzas worth of slices from the buffet, we were ready to get back to the problem at hand. On the way back to the office, he and I were running through what worked and what didn’t. He mentioned that he still didn’t get why he could watch the preview on the iPad in iMovie app and see everything there even though he deleted the media. It was something I still cannot explain to him. But, this conversation led me to think of a solution. Hence, Lesson 5 on the day.

I got to thinking. If Christian could see his preview full screen, then why not stream it to my Air via Reflector app and do the screen recording option in Reflector? It would kick it out in an MOV file (or similar) that I could put in iMovie and edit if needed. At this point, I was thinking it might work and I would just have to add the narration track to it somehow. After 22 minutes and 7 seconds, Christian and I learned Lesson number 5 on the day: Reflector did an excellent job on a long video.

When we watched the video being played back after the lengthy rendering (about 45 minutes), we got the added bonus of Lesson number 6 on the day: the audio came through like a champ. Reflector pulls in the audio built into whatever is streaming. It does not record conversation around the devices, but it does record what audio comes from the iPad. Thank you, Lord.

From that point, we just pushed the file to my YouTube account and embedded it in his blog. He’s happy. Mom’s happy. I’m ecstatic. It was the best possible outcome to what could have been a horrid lesson to him about video editing. It’s a lot of work to create a good piece of media, and it’s heartbreaking to not have it work out and have to redo it. That’s not high on a 12 year old’s list of things to do. In the end, the good Lord was smiling on us and we are now published. I’d embed it here, but he needs to see people actually do read his blog. Jump over there and take a look when you get a chance. 20 minutes is long, but it’s nowhere near as long as our day was trying to get it to this final stage.

As Audri says, “If you don’t succeed, try, try again.”

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An Academy Award nomination….from an iPhone

April 26, 2013 by woscholar · 2 Comments · Classroom Tools, Elementary, Secondary

When this film maker ran out of money, he turned to the $2 8mm Vintage Camera app on his iPhone to finish up. So, why aren’t your kids turning out media content with those iPods?

 

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More iPad in the Classroom Ideas

April 25, 2011 by woscholar · 1 Comment · Classroom Tools, Elementary, Learning, Secondary, Teaching

Tom Barret has a great slideshow worth passing along with “53 Interesting Ways to use an iPad in the Classroom.”

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Low Tech but High Engagement

October 18, 2010 by woscholar · No Comments · Classroom Tools, Elementary, Learning, Science, Secondary, Teaching

Thanks to a previous post by my fly fishing buddy @RMByrne I found Chris Bergmann. Chris is not your normal science teacher. Well, he’s not like the science teachers I ever had. This guy either thinks out of the box or he is a master of the Googles when it comes to finding creative ways to teach science concepts with his middle school students. Notice I said with. They seem to always be a part of the teaching and learning. Novel concept, right? Let’s just say he gets it and the kids are getting it as well. I am also sure there are plenty of great science teachers out there, but they are not taking heed to what Dean calls the moral imperative, sadly. So, we all lose out.

Watch this video as Chris utilizes a trash can and some Styrofoam cups to teach about the properties of air. Reminds me of an interactive movie I sat through near the Alamo many years back. Watching that canon smoke ring zip through the air held me captive to the content. Low tech, but very engaging. I’m just glad he is documenting his cool lessons to maybe inspire other science teachers around the world.  Check out his YouTube channel here as well for other great videos. If you have any great science teacher video links like this one, please share in the comments below.

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Just when you thought…

August 13, 2010 by woscholar · No Comments · Classroom Tools, Elementary, Eportfolios, Learning, Online Projects, Secondary, Teaching

From the files “Just when you thought your students and teachers were ahead of the curve,” here is a short video to show us we all have room to grow. The young lady shares exactly why students like the freedom of utilizing technology as well as gaining ownership. I did find it funny that the things “not for school” (Facebook, etc) are across the top of her site while the school links are along the bottom. It truly is cool to see a young student “get” PLE’s while many still struggle with the concept and the freedom it entails.  Enjoy:

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TCEA Promotes Engineering, Math, and Problem Solving via Robotics

May 28, 2010 by woscholar · No Comments · Classroom Tools, Elementary, Math, Science, Secondary, Teaching

This video was shot during the TCEA State Robotics Tournament recently. It has some great sound bites from the kids how discuss all of the skills they are acquiring through this project. Be sure to attend the TCEA Area 7 Technology Conference in White Oak on June 11th to check out the robot you see in the video.

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Google Docs changes easier to see

December 4, 2009 by woscholar · No Comments · Classroom Tools, Elementary, Secondary

For teachers viewing student’s (or students’) Google Docs, this is good news. I picked it up from a tweet from Steven W. Anderson.

Here is the entire post from the Google Docs blog:

New additions to the settings page

Tuesday, November 10, 2009 3:25 PM


Earlier today we made two additions to the Google Docs settings page. The first, “Where items open,” lets you pick if you want items to open in a new window (how it works today) or in the same window.

A couple weeks ago, we launched “New!” and “Viewed/unviewed” indicators in the docs list which allow you to easily spot brand new and updated items. Since not everyone loves these — shocking, I know :-) – we also added an “Update indicators” setting, which lets you turn these indicators off.

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Electronic Portfolios and the Thoughts of Educator

December 3, 2009 by woscholar · No Comments · Classroom Tools, Elementary, Eportfolios, Learning, Random Thoughts, Secondary, Teaching


I sent this email recently to some in my district. I thought I would post it here to gather feedback from my PLN if any of you see fit.

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Earlier this year we began in earnest a push toward integrating electronic portoflios (ePortfolios) with staff and students at the middle school level using blogs and the intermediate level using USB flash drives. There is an article in T.H.E. Journal that cites studies from Gartner supporting our choice in this.

While we are in the infant stages of ePortfolios, we are indeed headed in the right direction. I feel we should consider expanding this program into more grades to further enhance our goal of graduating 21st Century enabled students under the direction of 21st Century enabled staff.

The article states:

“And the holy grail is a personal digital portfolio, where you can store your accomplishments and have them verified by your mentors, teachers, or employers, and then take it all with you wherever you go. We’re nowhere near that at the moment.”

White Oak ISD is at that point now. We have the technology tools in place and the training available to implement this at all grade levels.

Please read the article if you have a chance. While it focuses on several software solutions, it also shares what others are doing and the possibilities. We are still fully capable of handing EVERY graduating senior from White Oak High School a flash drive with their entire eportfolio on it to be used anywhere they would like. Imagine the power of that if they are starting those in their earliest years in WOISD and maintaining it throughout.

I am always willing to discuss our ideas and goals with anyone at anytime.

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My Session on E-Portfolios with Staff and Students

July 11, 2009 by woscholar · 8 Comments · Classroom Tools, Elementary, Eportfolios, Learning, Literacy, Online Projects, Secondary, Software Solutions


Slide Credit: Dr. Helen Barrett
I have had several inquiries as to how my poster session went that was centered on using free online tools (Web 2.0) in creating, organizing, and maintaining electronic portfolios for staff and students. Well, in a word, great! I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to speak with so many others trying to do the same thing we are. While I am in a better situation than most due to a technology department and curriculum department that plays VERY well together, we still have our struggles. Training is one of them. There is so much to building effective
eportfolios that one person relatively new to the concept cannot learn and regurgitate it all back to staff in a productive way.

Thankfully, someone I admire for her knowledge and ability to share and teach stepped up to my session. Dr. Helen Barrett appeared in the corner of my booth. Fortunately, I saw her arrive and noted to everyone there that she was THE one to talk to about all things eportfolios. Anything I have to share about eportfolios would pale in comparison to this wonderfully read and prepared professor.  Another awesome piece of luck was that my curriculum director walked up behind me about the same time. I put the two of them together quickly to schedule some training in our district. If/When we are lucky enough to get Dr. Barrett in White Oak, our staff and students will never be the same again. We will be fully on track to creating portable archives of learning and teaching that all should be proud of. Exporting the eportfolio from the WordPress blog right to a flash drive will be a common happening for our students in the near future to allow them to take their representative work with them to college interviews, job interviews, competitions, etc. 

Another piece of luck came along when I ran into Sue Waters from Edublogs. After a lengthy conversation with Sue in the Blogger’s Cafe, my chief of technology and I decided it was time to move our entire WPMU blogging system to Edublogs Campus Ultimate where it will get the care and support it deserves. James Farmer, Sue Waters, and company will do more to keep up our system than we ever could. We know that this will now be the Cadillac version of our goals that we have wanted and needed all along. I have already noticed an unprecedented increase in speed in initial loading and navigating within and between blogs. Thank you, Edublogs! Our staff and students are going to be overjoyed when they log back in.


Photo Credit: AJC1 (Hartnell-Young, E. et al. (2007) Impact study of e-portfolios on learning partners.)
Another advantage for me in the move to Edublogs Campus Ultimate is the ability to batch create blogs and users. This was a headache when our system was at SiteGround because having a class or two of kids hitting the server at the same time never ended with anything but timeouts and 404 errors. It was what pushed us into seeking out a better host of our system. Considering we went from a Gig of traffic a month to over a Gig a day by the end of the year, we had to do something proactive before it all crashed down around us. You can go read for yourself all the benefits of making the move to Edublogs Campus Ultimate, but I can see this relationship being a very good one for all of us in White Oak ISD.

Stay tuned as we ramp up our electronic portfolio process with training by Dr. Helen Barrett and implementation by our staff and students this school year.

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Literacy Superhero…Away!!!!!

September 30, 2008 by woscholar · 4 Comments · Classroom Tools, Elementary, Literacy, Secondary, Teaching

Photo by Dean Shareski

I love being on this side of teaching. Don’t get me wrong. I miss my English and reading classes at the middle school, but now I get to work with all of the staff and students on every campus. Being able to see our brilliant teachers and their students expand their technology use and enjoy it makes it even better.

But I also get to network with some really great minds outside of White Oak. One of those great minds resides only a few hours west of us in Burleson ISD. Kim Estes has gone above and beyond what many people would do outside of their every day jobs in helping us. I will expand on her work with our ePortfolios after I finish the monument to her in my office, though. ;)

As I was reading through her newly redesigned blog, I found what every tech-loving, literacy teacher dreams about: a course outline complete with 6+1 Traits standards (our ISD uses New Jersey Writing, but they are basically the same) seamlessly meshed with technology integration where the curriculum is driving the technology. She created the outline, and then she found tools that supported the work.

Kim, you are a jewel to share this with everyone. I honor you by reposting it below with credit to you for the hard work it took. Thank you for being so generous in so many ways to us. Everyone who uses any part of this: I would appreciate it if you would leave a comment below to let Kim know what a valuable resource this truly is for us.

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