EdTech 2010 Session Highlights

edtech10  I’ve been busy these past few days pulling together all of my notes from this year’s South Carolina EdTech Conference so that I can share the highlights.  I was fortunate to be given professional leave time to attend the conference, and as always I returned refreshed and excited about new tools and ideas to bring back to my school.  Unfortunately not all of the presentations have been posted at the EdTech site yet, but you can click here to see the ones that are available.

In Hallway Hubbub, media specialist Betsy Long explained how her morning news crew is using FLIP cameras to conduct hallway interviews with students and teachers, then remixing them and adding music with either Movie Maker or Animoto

The other video session I attended was Lights, Camera, Action presented by Dennis Duszynski which was full of ways to use video in your school.

Rhonda Edwards shared a collection of eBooks she has written to share the history, geography, and wildlife of South Carolina.  Her website includes extension activities for each of her books.  You can see her presentation info here

I did not get to attend Jeff McCoys session on Free Online Tools and Resources (conflict with another session) but he always has interesting things to share so I made sure to check out his presentation info.

I also sat in on the following four sessions: Web 2.0 Instruction; iPodabilities: Creating iPod Touch Lessons; Twitter for Teachers; and Wikis Glogs, and Gadgets for Empowering Students.  Unfortunately, these presentations are not available at the EdTech site yet.  I’ll have to do more research to see if the presenters have a website, blog, wiki, etc where they may have posted the info.

And finally, how many of you are using Thinkfinity?  There’s nothing posted on the EdTech site by the presenter for this session, but I’ll be doing a separate post on this incredible web resource as a WWW next week, so stay tuned for that!

p.s. By the way, you can view the Keynote speech  and the Awards Presentation online via CloudCaster!

EdTech Technology Conference: Day 1

Well, I’m posting tonight from my hotel room in Myrtle Beach after an eventful first day at EdTech 2008!  I attended a couple of great sessions, marveled at the way our keynote speaker – a hypnotist – led seventeen fellow conference attendees to do things they will surely be embarrassed about later, and even won a door prize!  I then enjoyed a fine Italian dinner with Renee Inman, a fellow media specialist, before cracking open the laptop for a quick blog entry.

My first session today was on using Web 2.0 tools at the elementary level, where I got a few interesting ideas for using some of the apps I’ve been learning about in the SCASL 23 Things program.  The presenter, Anne-Marie Wilcox, also recommended a website that I’m anxious to explore called Jenuine Tech (created by Jennifer Wagner) which offers technology integration projects that teachers can use in their classrooms.  The coincidental thing about this is that I just discovered Jennifer’s blog, Tech Thoughts by Jen, last week and was so impressed by it that I added it to my Netvibes blog feed page

The other session I attended was entitled “50 Ways to Use ETVStreamlineSC.”  Okay, we didn’t really have time for 50 uses, but our presenter (Debbie Jarrett) certainly gave us quality, if not quantity.  Anyone who is only using the videos from this site is missing out on some great resources.  If you haven’t checked out the “Teacher Center” at the ETV Streamline website yet, you’ll be surprised and pleased with what’s available.  If you’d like a digital copy of the information handout I received in this session, just email me (junel@sumter17.k12.sc.us) and I’ll be glad to send it to you.

Time for bed now, but I’ll be up early tomorrow for another day of learning and growing!

Bubblr Comic Strip

How easy it is to get sidetracked on the web!  I was just working on editing my bookmarks in Delicious (one of my 23 Things this week is setting up a Delicious account, and when I imported my bookmarks I was staring at 355 sites to be tagged!  But that’s a different post!) when I came across the Bubblr site.  I had bookmarked it earlier when we were exploring MashUps, but hadn’t used it yet.  I did a quick experiment with it so that I would know how to describe it in Delicious, and here’s what I came up with:

Unfortunately, the text is too small to read here, so if you’d like to see a larger version of my comic strip, go to: Lori’s Blog? by Lori

It was fun, and it took almost no time at all.  Bubblr has a Flickr search tool right there on the cartoon creation page, so when you type in your tag(s) it immediately displays matching photos at the top of the screen.  Drag and drop the one(s) you want to use into the cartoon frames, drag in a thought or speech bubble, type your text and voila ~ you’re a cartoonist!

p.s. I mentioned in an earlier post that I was having trouble embedding a flash image into my blog. I again had trouble embedding this cartoon, also flash, so this time I turned to The Edublogger for advice. For those of you using Edublogs, Sue Waters does an amazing job of posting explanations of how to do anything you might possibly want to do with your blog. I always search her posts before I go to the forum for help.  Click here for her post on embedding code.

ReadWriteWeb Blog

Okay, am I the only one who found Technorati overwhelming?!  My focus right now is on using Web 2.0 in education, but since “Education” wasn’t listed in the Technorati blog directory, I took a look at the “Web 2.0” category under Technology.  Boy, were there a lot of blogs for tech geeks listed there!  I didn’t understand half of what I was reading! 

ReadWriteWebI did find one new blog to add to my Netvibes page, though.  ReadWriteWeb is a blog that provides web technology news, reviews, and analysis.  It’s not something I really need to check daily, or even weekly, but it should be interesting to scan the posts every now and then to keep up with the trends and buzz words in the 2.0 world. 

To be honest, most of the blogs I’m following, such as The Blue Skunk, are ones I found out about by looking at other people’s blogrolls.  For example, Cathy Nelson has some great ones listed at her blog site, Techno Tuesday.  By checking out the blogs she follows, I found additional links to still more good blogs.  It’s good to be part of a network!

Keeping An Eye On The Web!

Keeping An Eye On The Web

Using a newsreader is actually something I’ve been doing for awhile now.  I took a look at the Bloglines website, but I confess I didn’t spend too much time on it because I am extremely happy with my Netvibes page.  Netvibes is actually a personalized start page which allows me to put all of my web content in one place, using customizable tabbed pages to keep everything organized.  Through the use of widgets I can easily add RSS feeds for podcasts, blogs, and news, but I can also include photos, bookmarks, webpage modules, html, pop e-mail, and more.

Netvibes allows me to have a public page to share with the world in addition to a private page that only I can access.  I have transferred some of my private items to my public page, Keeping An Eye On…, to show just a little of what you can do with Netvibes, and you are welcome to take a look at it.

 

Google Lit Trips

I have been working on another Mash-Up project this past week, this time using Flickr and Google Earth.  I’m creating a Google Lit Trip for the book How to Bake an Apple Pie and See the World by Marjorie Priceman.  Google Earth is a free download that lets you fly anywhere on Earth to view satellite imagery, maps, terrain, 3D buildings and more. You can explore, save your toured places, and share them with others.  Google Lit Trips use features of Google Earth to plot the events in a book so that students can take a virtual tour of the setting and happenings of the story. 

French Chickens and Egg

The premise of the book I’m using is that when the market is closed one day, a young baker must travel the world to gather the ingredients she needs for her apple pie.  I searched Flickr CC (which is an invaluable site for finding Flickr photos released under the creative commons license) for images to include at each stop on my Google Earth journey, so that students can see not only where each country is on the map, but also a photo of the actual area, as well as the animal or plant providing the necessary baking ingredients.  For example, at one point our heroine travels to France to get eggs, and I was able to find this photo of a freshly laid egg, actually taken in Bretagne, to include in my trip.  

I am currently working on the last step of the project, which is to create a path to link all of the destinations together.  Once I have the Lit Trip completed, I will update this post.

(Flickr Photo “Speckled White Egg” by hugovk)

Flickr Fun: Mash-Ups!

Boy, there are some really neat Flickr Mash-Ups out there!  This was actually another one of those humbling assignments that made me realize just how much I *don’t* know about the tools that are available on the web.  I just keep repeating to myself, “How do you eat the elephant?  One bite at a time!”

The first application I played with is Montager, which creates mosaics from Flickr photos that are searched out based on a tag name of your choice.  At first I didn’t see a practical use for it, but the more I played with it, the more I realized what a neat tool it is.  It would be a new and creative way to compile photos from a particular event and display them on a website, or you could use it on a school webpage to display photos of your faculty and staff.  (With their permission, of course.)

Next I looked at the Big Huge Labs website and tried out the Captioner application, which allows you to add speech and thought bubbles to your photos.  This caught my attention because I thought students would enjoy seeing photos turned into cartoons.  (In fact, back in the day, I used to buy caption bubble stickers to use on the “real” photos I displayed on my media center bulletin board!)  Here is my creation:

SCASL Apple

Original Image: ‘Yummy Apples
www.flickr.com/photos/23078991@N05/2796325875

Mash-up created with Flickr Toys.

I have two caveats for those who want to use this tool.  First, you cannot upload or import Bitmap photos to be captioned; they need to be in the JPEG format.  The apple photo that I found at Flickr CC was originally a bitmap image, so I had to convert it in order to caption it.  I used my Microsoft Paint program to do that by opening the photo in paint and then saving it, choosing “jpeg” from the Save drop-down file type menu.  Easy and free!

Second, you need to start with a large image because the caption bubbles are too big to fit onto a small photo.  You can shrink it down after you’ve created and saved it to whatever size you want to use.  I had originally saved my apple photo using the “small” option, so I had to go back to the Flickr site and re-save it as a large photo.

 

23 Things

I’m excited about doing the 23 Things with other S.C. media specialists!  This summer I started doing All Together Now: A 2.0 Learning Experience from the School Library Journal website.  I stopped after learning that SCASL was offering a similar program, but even the few exercises that I completed through the SLJ website have already changed the way I do my job. 

For example, I knew I wanted to start a systematic technology training program for my teachers this year, and my original plan was just to communicate with them via email.  It was the SLJ Blog Thing that led me to create a blog – Technology Teasers for Teachers – to organize and disseminate the information I knew my teachers would need.

Thanks to everyone at SCASL who has worked and is working so hard to provide these tutorials!  Your time and effort is greatly appreciated!