Posted on September 27, 2011 by Ollie Dreon
Recently, I gave a presentation to a colleague’s class about digital storytelling. Dr. Rick Kerper is a children’s literature expert and he and I have been collaborating on different digital storytelling projects over the last few years. This summer, the Middle School Journal even published an article about one of our projects. The article discusses how digital storytelling can be a vital instructional tool to help reach middle school students and we featured a recent Millersville graduate who is creating YouTube videos to teach mathematics through short amusing stories.
When I speak to classes about digital storytelling, I try to focus more on the storytelling aspect than the digital component. I usually provide an overview of the elements of digital storytelling and walk students through the basic process of creating a digital story. I discuss making a script and a storyboard and avoid introducing software at all. This is an overt decision on my part. I’d rather have strong stories that lack technical pop than some flashy production that lacks a good story. If you want an overview of the presentation, you can check out my blog post from a few years ago.
Near the end of my presentation to Rick’s class, one of Rick’s students asked if he could make a digital story on his iPad. I explained that he needs to check out iMovie for iPad and that it would be perfect for digital storytelling. Coming in at $4.99, iMovie for iPad (and the iPhone) is a tremendous bargain. It’s a powerful tool that allows users to capture, edit and produce videos all from a single device (an iPad 2). With iMovie for iPad, users can add basic transitions, music and titles and then share their production through YouTube if they choose. Some users, however, may miss the bells and whistles that are available in other video editing applications. I actually find that iMovie for iPad provides all of the tools you need to make a strong digital story, without giving you tons of effects that could distract the viewer from your story. I don’t miss the lack of a starburst effect or the spiral transition. Much like the annoying effects in PowerPoint, I find some of the traditional video editing effects and transitions to be quite annoying. With iMovie for iPad, the story takes center stage, which is exactly where it should be.
To see iMovie for iPad in action, be sure to check out this tutorial:
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Posted on September 20, 2011 by Ollie Dreon
As regular readers of the 8 Blog know, I teach instructional technology at Millersville University in Pennsylvania. Next week, the School of Education is hosting a week long series of events called Education on Location: National Issues at Home. Each day features a different theme which focuses on one of the serious issues currently facing education including drop out rates, vouchers, school choice and teacher unions. To see a full schedule of events, check out the Education on Location web page.
As part of the Education on Location week, I was invited to organize several events around the theme of Innovation in Education. One of the great parts of my job is that I get to work with so many creative teachers who are utilizing all sorts of innovative practices with their students. I thought the Education on Location events would be a perfect time to celebrate their work. On Wednesday September 28, I will be co-hosting two online events where several amazing teachers will showcase the innovative works they’re doing in their classrooms. The events are open to anyone who would like to attend. Feel free to join us by clicking on the appropriate link:
Innovation in Education session starting at 7:30 AM
Innovation in Education session starting at 3:30 PM
David Solon, Instructional Technology Coordinator for the Lancaster-Lebanon Intermediate Unit, will also co-host the event and all sessions will be held in the IU’s Elluminate room. I hope you’ll be able to join us for this event. Please remember that the online session times are Eastern Standard Time.
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Posted on September 12, 2011 by Ollie Dreon
I’ve been playing around a lot with my iPad 2 lately and exploring different ways that I can incorporate the device into my teaching. I teach instructional technology to preservice teachers and utilize screencasting with my students. I typically use Jing and Screenflow on my laptop and was hoping to find a similar app for the iPad to demonstrate app usage to my students. While there is no easy screencasting solution for the iPad at this time, I found three great apps that would be excellent tools for capturing lessons. Consider using the apps to record a lecture and having your students watch the lecture BEFORE class. You can then use class time in other ways. Maybe the students could discuss the material in small groups or debate different concepts addressed in the lesson. This process is called “flipping the classroom” and is gaining some popularity with educators. In a flipped classroom, students attend to record lectures on their own (and at their own pace) and come to class to collaborate with their classmates and socially construct meaning of the content. “Flipping the classroom” changes the role of the instructor from someone who delivers of information to someone who facilitates learning. To get started, consider using one of these apps.
In its easy-to-use interface, Screen Chomp offers a white erase board and several markers. Users can import photos from the Camera Roll but cannot pull in Powerpoint or Keynote slides. Though it is limited in its functionality, it would be great tool to create a lesson that walks through a math problem or for annotating some diagram. Screen Chomp is free on the App Store and it would be ideal for younger children who want to record a story or for anyone to create and capture short lessons. My only criticism is how Screen Chomp shares its captured lessons online. Users can only share their Screen Chomps at www.screenchomp.com or through a Facebook account. To see how Screen Chomp works, check out the following tutorial:
Like Screen Chomp, Show Me is free and easy to use. It offers a simple white erase board with several markers. Unlike Screen Chomp, however, Show Me offers even less sharing options online. Once you’ve captured a lesson, your only option is saving it to the Show Me Community which houses all of the lesson captures created with Show Me. That being said, the site allows you to embed the screen captures from showme.com to other locations online.
Explain Everything is a full-function lesson capture application that is honestly much more robust than its $2.99 price would suggest. Besides having a white erase board, Explain Everything offers text, shapes, and easy integration with DropBox and Evernote. You can pull in Keynote and Powerpoint slides and record yourself walking through a presentation. Explain Everything even offers several saving and sharing solutions (YouTube, for instance). Once you’ve captured a lesson, you can even save the lesson to your Camera Roll and edit it with iMovie. To get started, check out this Explain Everything tutorial:
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Posted on September 6, 2011 by Ollie Dreon
Regular readers of the 8 Blog know that I’m a big fan of concept mapping. Used in a classroom setting, concept mapping can help students develop higher order thinking skills by having them organize, analyze and group concepts they have learned. Students can start to make connections between concepts and begin seeing relationships between different ideas. Besides being a powerful instructional tool for students, concept maps can also be valuable assessment devices, allowing educators to examine student understanding and identify misconceptions that may exist.
While many different concept mapping applications exists (MyWebspiration, for example), Spicy Nodes offers some creative functionality that many educators may find useful. Spicy Nodes bills itself as “a way to visualize online information that mimics that way that people look for things in the real world” which I think is true for most concept mapping applications. The difference that Spicy Nodes offers, however, is a unique, easy-to-use interface and appealing final product. Similar to Prezi, concept maps created with Spicy Nodes are interactive which allows visitors to navigate through the map in a dynamic manner. To get a sense of what Spicy Nodes can offer, be sure to check out this simple example I created organizing the different levels of the SAMR Model.
Currently, Spicy Nodes offers a free option to educators who want to incorporate concept mapping into their classrooms. With its embedding option, the concept maps can be pulled into blogs, wikis or course management sites so students’ finished products can be shared with their classmates. For some help getting started, be sure to check out this Spicy Nodes tutorial.
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