My Best Online Friend…ZAMZAR

2 04 2010

I love Zamzar! It is an online program that converts files into different file types. I use it to convert YouTube videos into MP3s and MP4s for videos I make on my Mac. What I like about it is that it is free, quick, and easy to use.

Here is how you use Zamzar.

Step 1: You can choose a file from your computer, or if you click the URL link, it will allow you to paste in the URL of what you want to convert. This is where I paste in the YouTube video link that I want to convert.

Step 2: This is where you can choose the type of file you want to convert it to. You have the options of converting it to image, doc, music, video, and other formats.

Step 3: Insert your email address

Step 4: Cick “Convert” and it will send the converted file to your email. It will send in a couple minutes, or if they are busy, a couple hours. You click the link in your email and then it will download it into your computer.

I really recommend this program because it is extremely easy to use. You can also create a user account and it will manage all of the files that you have converted. I also use this program to convert YouTube videos to put onto my Ipod.

The possibilities with it are really quite endless with what you can do with Zamzar. Check it out!





Interview with Alan Levine!

1 04 2010

I had the pleasure to interview a very knowledgeable man in the field of technology named Alan Levine. If you haven’t heard of him before, he is behind the digital storytelling wiki, 50+ ways to tell a story. He was kind enough to let me talk to him via Skype and I really enjoyed the experience. I have actually used Alan’s wiki a few times for ideas for presentations and for my online teaching experiences. It was really nice to put a face to someone whose work I have been using for a couple of years now.

Our discussion went a little over the 10 minute time period so I had to split it up into two parts in order to get it onto YouTube. I really recommend checking out the videos. Alan’s insight into the world of technology is phenomenal and I thoroughly enjoyed our discussion. Here are the videos of our talk.

I also found this video on YouTube of Alan talking about establishing networks online and about being willing to experiment and try new technology. Check it out:

If you want to follow Alan on Twitter, his page there is:  http://twitter.com/Cogdog. He is my motivation to stick with the Twitter because in our video he talked about how it allows you to network with people all over the world and I think that as educators it is important to have connections with people and educators everywhere. It can provide us with some great insights, resources, and expertise that we might not ever find on our own.

Also, Alan has an extremely interesting blog in which he discusses various technologies. I would recommend checking it out because his professional outlook on various technologies is very useful. His blog is http://cogdogblog.com/.

Some posts I found very interesting were:

Memory Mapping

There’s Gotta Be a Better Way To Search A WordPress Blog

Fantabulous Posterous

Anyways, thank you very much for letting me interview you Alan! I really enjoyed our talk and hope we stay connected because I am sure one day I will have more questions to ask you about this always changing world of technology!





Collaborative Project- Frustrations and Concerns

31 03 2010

The last time I posted about our collaborative project with a Computer Literacy 8 class from Melville, I said things were going quite well. Now that the students have gotten into the assignment, we are encountering a few issues.

Just a quick recap. Amy Adams and I are having the students create stories using online digital storytelling tools. They have to retell the same story using two different tools. Our blog containing the assignment for them is here.

The first issue is the quality of some of the stories that the students have sent in. Our requirements were that their story has to be at least 3/4 of a page to 1 page long.  Some students have sent in a couple of  sentences and we have had to tell them to make their stories longer. Also, some have sent their stories with so many spelling and grammar errors that it is hard to understand the story. Amy also expressed her concerns with this here. Although having the students email us has proven to be an effective, quick way to communicate with each other and to receive the stories, some students are only sending their stories to just me, or just to Amy. We specifically stated to send their story to both of us so that we know what each other has received and what each other has responded to. This has contributed to some disorganization between the two of us because we do not know what each other has done. We have been adding each other to the emails we respond to and this has definitely helped. Also, I have been keeping track of what the students have each sent us and what we have sent them so that we know what we have received from each student.

Another issue is that students are having a tough time following the timeline we have provided for them. We have had to extend the assignments due date an extra week, but because they have a week off for Easter, their extra week runs into our last week of school. Although the teacher we are working with does not have a problem with them having more time to work on the project, my concern is us being able to find time to mark all of these stories when we will be studying for finals. We said that the last possible day to complete their glogs is Thursday, April 15th, so hopefully we can get together that Friday and do all of the marking.

I emailed each student and asked them how they were doing. I asked about their progress and if they have any questions. A few have emailed me back and I definitely see how useful it is to have all of the student’s individual emails.

From the emails I have received from our cooperating teacher and from the students, they are really enjoying this project. Some are having some issues with the programs saving their work. This is frustrating because we went through each program that we provided them with for the assignment and they all worked for us. We have told students to keep going and to try and save their work regularly. Hopefully this helps.

Overall, I am still really excited about this collaborative project with Amy. The students love it, the teacher is happy with what we have been doing with them, and I cannot wait to see the stories they have created with the digital storytelling tools. I will keep you updated with anything else we encounter!





EDU Glogster- Part 2

30 03 2010

Strengths and Weaknesses of EDU Glogster

I want to talk about the strengths of EDU Glogster in this post, as well as the weaknesses of the program.

I also want to discuss ways in which EDU Glogster can be used within a variety of classroom settings.

The benefits of the EDU Glogster version compared to the regular Glogster version are:

  • Students cannot see content from the regular Glogster site when they are making glogs in the EDU zone. This is great because not all glogs are school appropriate and EDU glogster ensures that all content students view is appropriate.
  • All glogs made by students are private.
  • You can embed your work online. This is great because if you have a class ning, wiki, or blog, students can post their glogs into them (this can only be done if teacher opens up the privacy of the glog).
  • The teacher and students are all connected. Teachers and classmates can leave comments on each other’s glogs.
  • You can see glogs created by students on their profile page which is organized within the teacher’s EDU zone. This makes marking easier.

The weaknesses of EDU Glogster:

  • Audio files that are in wav format take a long time to upload
  • Glogs with a lot of videos take a long time to upload
  • Work must be saved frequently in order to not lose it during an upload

For more information: Connections, Using EDU Glogster, Teacher’s Guide

Ideas for the Classroom

As a business education teacher, here are a couple of my ideas for EDU Glogster.

  • Career and Work Exploration: Students could create glogs about a career they are potentially interested in. They could look at salary, job descriptions, videos, etc and include them in the glog.
  • CPT: Students could find pictures and videos that are examples of shooting techniques in film making
  • Entrepreneurship: Students could create glogs presenting the information they have researched about their planned ventures

There are many many more ways I see this program being used, but those are only a few ideas I have.

I also want to ask everyone if you can see yourselves using EDU Glogster within your grade or subject area? Please give me examples because I would love to hear your ideas!





EDU Glogster- Part 1

29 03 2010

EDU GLOGSTER

I finally feel like an expert in the online tool, EDU Glogster. It took many online readings and video tutorials from YouTube, but I feel confident to use and teach this tool and am happy that I chose to learn about such a useful teaching resource. I honestly think this is one of the easiest tools I have worked with because the layout of the site is easy to work in, the possibilities are quite endless with what you can do, and there is information all over the internet if you have any questions. They also have a link to frequently asked questions which answered every question I had (which weren’t many because it was so easy to work in). EDU Glogster FAQ

There are also many educational resources about EDU glogster provided right on the home page. I enjoyed reading these resources because they either provided information about EDU Glogster or why it is beneficial to use this program with students.

Here are a couple examples:

Review of EDU Glogster on TeacherFirst

Glogster EDU in Education

This is what I think:

Glogster- A great tool for anyone to use to create an interactive poster on any topic of their choice.

EDU Glogster- An amazing tool for teachers and students to use. This is what Ellyse and I are going to teach about in our presentation.

EDU Glogster can be teacher controlled. I think this is an important aspect to look at as educators because a lot of sites on the internet are great tools to use, but you have no idea what your students are doing until they are finished. Bright colours, fun images, and easy navigation make this tool not too intimidating for people to work with. I have heard of grade 1 students using it and of grade 12 students using it, so it is a valuable tool for any grade or subject. I have already posted about Glogster and think that it is a great tool, but I now realize as I have been working with these programs for 2 months, how effective EDU glogster is for educators and students.

Although Edu Glogster is free, you can purchase a premium version that includes more features. It costs $11.95/month per teacher, $99/year per teacher, or you can get a multi-licence purchase for a school district.

Getting Started:

  1. First click “register” and sign up for an account. Please note that you cannot use the same email address if you already have a glogster account. You will need a different one to register with EDU glogster.
  2. Once you have registered your teacher account, you can add a picture of yourself and update your profile to your liking.
  3. Next you can create your student accounts. You are allowed up to 200 student accounts. Students can go in and create a username and password and personalize their profiles. The nice thing is that no changes can be made without permission of the teacher. Also it keeps track of every student’s password, so if they forget it, you can easily access it to give it to them.

Here is how you create a glog:

Step 1:

  • Click “create a new glog”
  • The workspace will have some sample elements already on the page. You can delete anything that you don’t want to use want by clicking on the image and then clicking on the pink trash can.
  • You can drag any element around to where you would like it on your page
  • You can resize it by clicking and dragging the corners.

Step 2: The magnet tool is what you need to insert elements into your glog.

Step 3: Create your glog. Each of the buttons on the magnetic tool allow you to customize elements within your poster.

Wall: If you click the wall link, it will take you to 234 different backgrounds that you can choose for the background of your glog. You can also look under categories to find specific backgrounds that you might want and there are also solid coloured backgrounds to choose from. The selection is so large that you should be able to find something that fits the topic of the glog you are creating. Once you find the one you want, just click “use it” and it will be the new background of your glog.

Draw and Data: The draw and data tool can only be used if you purchase the premium EDU Glogster. They have great capabilities in uploading excel documents, as well, students can draw their own images to include in their glog.

Sound: You can add sound 3 different ways. You can “upload” sound from your computer (MP3s etc), you can “link” sound from another website, and you can “grab” audio from your computer’s webcam. The “grab” feature is a great because you can quickly record what you want to say and put it onto your glog. You can record for up to 10 minutes, so a student could reflect on their project, tell a story, etc.

Video: This is very similar to the sound element. You can upload, link, and grab video files to put into your glog. Also there is a “players” tab that you can click which provides a variety of play buttons that people can click to watch the video in your glog. One great thing about EDU Glogster is that they provide a link to SchoolTube within the Video toolbar. Students can look for videos from there rather than YouTube. Some videos on YouTube are quite inappropriate so this school appropriate site is a great feature to have so easily available for students to use.

Image: To add images, you can once again upload it from your computer, link it to a site, or grab it from your webcam. Also, there is a “frames” tab that you can click that provides a variety of frames that you can put around the pictures you include in your glog. This is nice because it adds more visual appeal to the glog.

Text: This to me is a very important feature on EDU glogster because although interactive posters are great and students can find links, videos, images, sounds, etc to show information on their topic, they also need to be able to put their own ideas, learning, and thoughts onto the glog. There are 396 different text boxs for students to choose from and they can also change the text size, font, and colour. This tool allows for them to include quotes, poems, stories, essays, etc that they have written.

Graphics: This feature in the magnet tool is great because it includes 882 images and animations that can be included in the glogs.It can fill space in the glog and add more of a virtual touch to the poster.

Step 4: Editing your glog. Watch this Jing to learn about the Edit Bar

Step 5: Save and publish.

  • You can preview your work by clicking the preview button. If you like your work, you can then name you blog and categorize it based on what it is about.
  • A great feature is that you can choose whether your glog is finished or unfinished. This way students can work on a glog for a few days and not feel pressured to get it done in one class. If a glog is unfinished, only the teacher and student can view it. If it is finished, the teacher, student, and classmates can all view it.
  • Because EDU glogster is teacher controlled, only the teacher can publicize the blogs. This way, the work done by students does not have to be viewed by the whole world, but only by the class. This is great if the school has a policy that controls what students can put on the internet.

I found this video very useful when I first started working in EDU Glogster:

Part 2 will be posted tomorrow about the rest of my learning on this great tool!





Schools for Sudan

26 03 2010

Hey all,

I want to share something I am very passionate about and that I have been involved with for the past 2 years.

Last year during an E.S.S  (Education Student’s Society) meeting, we had an education student come present to us about an initiative he was working on that he needed help with. He presented us with touching information and pictures showing the poor living and schooling conditions of children in Sudan,  his home country. He wanted help to raise enough money to build a school for the children. It is going to cost about $60 000 to build this school. We decided that we would help him and do whatever we could to raise this money.

Last year we had people go to the Owl (campus bar) and collect spare change from people numerous times and we hosted an event called “School’s for Sudan Walk-A-Thon”.  Through these fundraisers, we were able to raise $6300 to go towards building the school in Sudan.

This year we want to help raise money again for the cause and are having another Walk-A-Thon and have decided to have a Pub Crawl to raise money.  The student that approached us last year is currently in his last year of secondary education here at the University of Regina and is going back to Sudan to teach at the beginning of April. He is going to send us pictures of where the money is going and of the school being built. You will be able to find the pictures on our E.S.S blog.

I want to share the details of our fundraiser events this year in case you want to participate:

Here is the link if you want to check out the event on Facebook: Schools for Sudan

Details:
What: Schools for Sudan Walk-A-Thon

When: Wednesday, April 7th. Your team can start the walk at 12:30 or 4:30(You decide which time works best for you).

Where: Teams of 10 – 15 people will meet in Riddell Centre and participate in a 5K walk or run around Wascana Park

If you cannot participate in the walk, you can make donations at our table in Riddell the day of the walk.

Also,

Pub Crawl, Friday April 9th.

Details:
Registration at Owl 7-9
Pump 9:15-10:30
Distrikt 10:45

Free shots at every bar, no cover, no line.

Tickets $20

All proceeds will also go towards Schools for Sudan.

For a captain’s package, to make a donation, and to reserve tickets for the pub crawl contact:

Me, Kayla Hanson at:
kaylahanson1@hotmail.com

Please help us raise enough money to help the underprivileged children in Sudan. I really am passionate about this cause and feel that ALL children deserve the right to an education.

Thank you,

Kayla





Update On Collaborative Project

17 03 2010

The students in the grade 8 computer literacy class have been working on the assignment we gave them for just over a week now. Things are going really great with everything! If you want to check out the blog that we have with them that includes our assignment on Digital Storytelling, it is here: CompLit 8.

It is honestly going way better than I thought it would be. I thought that us giving the assignment, making the decisions, and evaluating all online would be difficult, but it is going very smoothly so far. Students have been emailing us their stories, we send them feedback and if they need to make some changes they do.

This week they are going to begin working with the digital storytelling tools. Don Wihak, the teacher we are working with gave us a class list so we can keep track of who has sent everything in. I also find that by having emails sent to my phone, it is easy to reply to the students quickly. This is nice if they have any questions because I can respond immediately and they can keep working. I also like that I am working with Amy on this because if I am busy, she is there for them and if she is busy, I am there for them. I am really looking forward to the students creating Glogs to show the stories they created. It is the program I am working with for the March Teach Us session and I cannot wait to see it used by students!