Tag: multimedia

Web 2.0 Tools for Creativity, Communication, and Collaboration

More notes from this week’s conference presentations in Cy-Fair ISD. Here’s an ever changing list of some new or fairly new Web 2.0 tools that have captured my imagination.

Google Docs embed a little strangely, so if you’d rather access the document directly, you may do so here.

New Podcast: Student Multimedia Projects

Discussion of some alternatives to essays or PowerPoints.


TLA 2011 Presentation Links

Links to resources shared at Texas Library Association convention:

PowerPoint on Steroids Presentation

Obeying Copyright Laws Is Easier Than You Think

Several recent opportunities to work with groups of teachers in the past couple of weeks has prompted this post. An issue that is important for teachers and students to understand is copyright law. This is particularly true as they engage their students in creating so many marvelous digital products, many of which will be shared online. I’ve heard a couple of common statements/questions repeatedly:

  • If something isn’t marked as copyrighted, is it copyrighted?
  • Can I use something if I bought it (e.g. music from a purchased CD or download)?

The answer to the first question is “yes”. Original published works don’t have to have a copyright statement to be copyrighted. The answer to the second is “maybe”, depended upon several factors and multiple legal opinions. It is fairly clear, though, that using a large part or all of a song, even if purchased, is not acceptable without permission from its publisher or creator.

Fortunately, there are so many resources that are acceptable, teachers and students don’t have to consult with lawyers in order to find usable resources. Many are available online, and, by simply using the advanced search features of Google and other search engines, it is easy to determine which ones are okay to use. Let’s use a Google search for images of “the Alamo” as an example. This search returned a whopping 2.7 MILLION images, the majority of which have copyrights that protect them from reuse. Now, click on the Advanced Search link. Scroll down the page and find the line labelled Usage Rights. Click the dropdown menu and select Labelled for Reuse.

Google Advanced Search

Google Advanced Search

Click the Google Search button in the upper right. The results now are reduced to 154, but all have been specifically licensed by their creators for use by others. Each source may have specific limitations, which can usually be found listed on their respective pages. Most often, they simply require a citation. The same process can provide useable results from a general Google web search. Yahoo! offers a similar search feature.

In addition to advanced search tools, there are numerous sites that offer a range of media that is permissible for use in student projects. I’ve listed just a tiny sampling below, to get things started. Many more can be found by simply searching for public domain or Creative Commons sources online. The critical thing is to raise our students’ awareness of the importance of obeying the laws and to equip them with the tools to do so easily.

Summer Technology Projects

We probably take more pictures and record more video during the summer than at any other time of year. Vacations or time spent outdoors in the warm summer sun offer many opportunities for gathering the raw materials of some fantastic multimedia projects. For teachers, it is also a rare opportunity to explore some great tools in a more relaxed atmosphere, free from the demands of lesson planning, grading papers, etc. Below are listed 5 projects, with a couple of examples, that you might consider trying for yourself or using with your own children. This is a great way to encourage writing, storytelling, and creativity, as well as a fantastic way to preserve memories. My 8-year old daughter completed her first summer project just today, and her VoiceThread is shown below.

  1. Animoto. One of the easiest ways to create professional-looking slideshows, complete with dramatic animations/transitions, audio, and text. Simply upload your images, add any desired text, and select your music. Animoto does the rest. 30 second videos (12-15 images) are free, and educators can sign up for full-length videos. An example of a 30-second video can be seen below.
  2. Glogster. Glogster enables users to create online, virtual “posters.” They can include images, text, audio, video, and hyperlinks. There is a little more to the site, so a slightly greater learning curve does exist, but I have seen Glogster used very effectively with elementary kids, so don’t hesitate to try this for a summer project for your children. Again, educator accounts are available.
  3. VoiceThread. Possibly the easiest digital storytelling tool out there, VoiceThread simply requires images be uploaded and comments added, either through text, audio, or webcam. The interface is simple to learn (My daughter took control shortly after we began.), and, perhaps most exciting, comments can take the form of text, scribbles, audio, or video. Here is Reagan’s first try (We wrote out her comments before recording and practiced reading each one.):
  4. Tikatok. As a way to encourage young writers, why not have them actually publish (and even sell!) their works. Tikatok has a number of publishing tools for children. They can upload their own images or photographs, use a selection of graphics from the site, write original books, or utilize story starters on the site. When books are finished, they can be purchased fairly reasonably, shared with the world, and even sold to other buyers. A very engaging and motivating site!
  5. Photopeach. New to me, this site acts very much like Microsoft PhotoStory. Simply upload images, add any desired text, select from a variety of background music, and publish. There is even a feature which allows users to include quiz questions in their shows. This is a very suitable and easy-to-learn tool that is worth a look.
  6. Father-Daughter Dance on PhotoPeach

These are just a few suggestions. Another idea would be to create a family YouTube channel and have kids create and share videos of the family adventures. There are endless possibilites for combining the fun and adventure of summer with some powerful vehicles for creativity and self-expression. I’ll be posting more as the summer progresses and my children complete new projects. If you have others that need sharing, please do so!

Edit: Another idea that I’m trying with my own daughter, who just finished the 2nd grade, is to use email and a blog to encourage her to write. I’m using Gaggle for both, which allows me to have editorial and administrator rights over what she posts or receives, which is valuable with a new, young user. She is extremely excited about the possibilities of both, and has notified her Nana to be expecting correspondance.

TCEA Region 7 Conference Presentation Links and Resources

Session 1 (9:30-10:15): Twitter, Are You Serious?

Session 3 (12:45-1:30): Live, From Your School!

Session 4 (1:35-2:20): Not Another PowerPoint!

BISD 12 Second Tech Challenge #6

Today’s challenge is to create a quiz using the fun and powerful site, MyStudiyo.com. This site allows users with free accounts to create interactive, multimedia quizzes. Embed images and video, set time limits, and choose from a good selection of quiz templates. Quizzes are in just two forms, multiple choice and survey-type, but it is still a very useful and easy-to-learn tool. Quizzes can be shared via link, email, or through several social networks and blog sites. To see the site in action, check out the sample quiz I created in about 5 minutes below. (Note: The video at the beginning is funny, but not essential to the quiz.)

As always, once you have completed the challenge, please reply here and leave us a link to your quiz, so that other teachers and I can see your work. Again, thanks for your participation!

BISD 12 Second Tech Challenge #6 on 12seconds.tv

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