Posted on September 27, 2010 by Ollie Dreon
This week, I’m focusing on digital storytelling as an alternative assessment tool that instructors can use in both online or face-to-face environments. Instead of assigning a paper or giving an exam, consider having your students create digital stories as a means of assessing student learning. For instance, Dr. Richard Kerper, a professor in the Elementary and Early Childhood Education department at Millersville, has his students create short movie trailers for books they read. Not only is he able to evaluate the students on what they’ve learned from their reading, he is able to tap into the students’ creativity and engage them by using technology. By having his students post their products online and share them with the other members of the class, Dr. Kerper also fosters a community wear the students can learn from one another and revise their work based on peer feedback.
While there are many different points of view regarding what constitutes a digital story, I think the most important aspect to remember is that digital stories tell a story digitally. I know that sounds sort of elementary but it’s easy to lose sight of the story when the software is complicated or offers many bells and whistles. Each semester, I have students who create elaborate digital stories that contain all sorts of special effects but the stories themselves are weak. I’m sure you’ve had similar experiences with books or movies. A fancy cover isn’t going to improve the quality of a story and special effects won’t hide poor storytelling. Even though most moviemaking software offer different ways to creatively alter and display the video, keep in mind that the goal is good storytelling. The digital component is just the medium.
I know that digital storytelling is new for some people so I’m using this space to share some tutorials I created for my students as well as links to tutorials on different movie making software (iMovie & MovieMaker).
Some additional resources:
The Digital Storytelling Cookbook
How to Use Digital Storytelling in Your Classroom
iMovie 06 Tutorial iMovie 08 Tutorial iMovie 09 Tutorial
iMovie 06 Manual iMovie 08 Manual
Moviemaker XP Tutorial
Moviemaker Vista Tutorial
Moviemaker Community Help Page
Filed under: digital storytelling, video | 4 Comments »
Posted on September 20, 2010 by Ollie Dreon
With the advent of Web 2.0 technologies, the language of the Internet has changed. We now have wikis, blogs, Google Docs, Twitter, cloud computing, social networking, social bookmarking, podcasting and so much more. It can be hard to keep up with all of the new terminology, let alone understand conceptually how a blog differs from a wiki. One useful resource is the host of In Plain English videos that are on YouTube. Created by a company called Common Craft, the In Plain English videos explain high tech or challenging concepts in really low tech ways. Using paper cut outs, dry erase markers and not so invisible strings, Lee and Sachi LeFever explain topics ranging from the Electoral College to the Stock Market to Augmented Reality. Over the years, I’ve used the In Plain English videos in my online and face-to-face classes, on this blog and even in scholarly presentations. The videos are easy to follow and understand. Some viewers may complain that the videos don’t teach viewers how to use any specific technology. That’s not really the objective. The videos are designed so viewers can grasp the topic and understand it conceptually. To get a sense of how accessible the In Plain English videos are, check out this video on how Twitter functions:
Or check out this not-so-academic, but very humorous video on zombies:
The videos can all be found on the Common Craft YouTube channel or purchased at their website. The videos would be great resources to use with students when introducing a new instructional technology or as a way to bridge a conceptual gap that may exist in the ever-changing world of technospeak. Presented in an easy to understand format, the videos explain topics “in plain English.”
Filed under: video | Leave a Comment »
Posted on September 13, 2010 by Ollie Dreon
What do you think of when you hear the words “online publishing?” Maybe a web page? Or a blog? Or possibly a wiki? While most of the textual content published online probably falls into these traditional categories, issuu offers something completely different. Issuu is a site that allows users to easily create online magazines and journals. After uploading a few PDFs, issuu does all of the hard work and converts the files to be published online. The results are honestly pretty amazing. Just like a real magazine, pages can be flipped, viewed full screen or magnified. Issuu publications can also be viewed with many mobile devices and an iPhone/iPod app is planned for the near future. Much like posting content on YouTube, issuu users can control how a document can viewed, shared or whether an issuu publication can be downloaded. The site is really easy to use and offers a ton of online storage for free. You will need a username and password to use issuu, but the uploading and publishing processes are pretty straightforward after that.
Issuu offers some great instructional opportunities for our classrooms. For instance, consider uploading your syllabus or some of your classroom documents to issuu so students can view these materials online from their phones, laptops or home computers. Issuu could also be used as an assessment device. One possibility is having students contribute to an online journal as a class project. Each student (or groups of students) would be responsible for researching, writing and publishing an article that can be assembled and uploaded to issuu. Issuu would also be a great resource for having students create portfolios of work to be shared with a worldwide audience.
For some help using the site, be sure to check out the Issuu YouTube Channel. To get a sense of what an online publication can look like in issuu, check out this example I created.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »
Posted on September 7, 2010 by Ollie Dreon
Recently, I read an article in The Chronicle of Higher Education about professors who were using technology to “kill the lecture.” For example, one professor uploads his lectures online which students have to watch before class. The professor then uses class time to have discussions, work on homework, and answer questions. This approach really turns the lecture/discussion cycle on its head which some of our students could really benefit from.
The article got me thinking about whether people are using streaming video with their classes. Sure, most of us show a YouTube video in class from time to time, but I wonder how many people are authoring content and then uploading it to share with students. This week, I thought I’d take a few moments to walk people through the process of uploading a video onto YouTube and then embedding in other locations (like Desire2Learn, for example). The process is pretty simple. You need to have a YouTube account and a video to upload, but otherwise, it’s not very challenging. There are a few important items to consider, however:
1. YouTube videos cannot be longer than 15 minutes. I know this may be challenge for some people who want to record their lectures to share online but the limit is actually a blessing in disguise. While the limit may be prompted by file size and memory, it encourages instructors to more efficiently deliver information or to chunk their presentations into smaller sections. Either way, the presentations usually benefit.
2. YouTube videos can be shared publicly or privately. One concern instructors have with uploading content online is the intellectual property of their work. While I agree that we should all be weary of losing control of our work, I also think that information should be shared more freely. YouTube provides a variety of privacy settings to allow an instructor to share their presentations with everyone (Public) or with more limited populations (Unlisted or Private). The Unlisted privacy settings works like an unlisted phone number. Only people with the web address can access the video. The video still lives online and can be embedded in other locations, but it is hidden from being found by a search engine. Private videos are only viewable by the people who have been designated viewers. The challenge with Private videos is that only 25 people can be designated as viewers.
3. Embedding is your friend. While your video may live on YouTube, it can broadcast in loads of other locations. Want to add a video to a class in Desire2Learn? You can copy the embed code and paste into D2L. You can also embed videos to a Ning, to a personal website, to a wiki or to a blog. YouTube does the heavy lifting by storing and broadcasting the video, but you control where the presentation occurs.
For a short tutorial that walks through the process of uploading and embedding videos through YouTube, be sure to check out the video below.
Filed under: video | Leave a Comment »