Category Archives: Tips

Join via Videoconference: Mapping Media Part 2 (Spring 2014)

Category : Tips

The past few years I’ve enjoyed opportunities to work intensively with Montana teachers through summer professional development institutes offered at the University of Montana as well as courses I’ve taught over videoconferences bridged by VisionNet. Western Montana CSPD and Nancy Marks have been the primary catalysts for these learning opportunities. Both of my past courses have been offered for graduate credit through the University of Montana, and have focused on the first six media products in the “Mapping Media to the Common Core” digital literacy framework: Interactive Writing, Narrated Art, Five Photo Stories, Radio Shows, Visual Notetaking, and Narrated Slideshows / Screencasts. I’m pleased to announce that this semester I’ll be offering “Part 2” of Mapping Media for the first time as a seven part course, again via Montana CSPD and the University of Montana. This second part will focus on three more media products, which are more involved than the first six in several ways. The media products are: Quick Edit Videos, Multimedia/enhanced eBooks, and Simulations or Games.

Whether or not you live in Montana, you can join us via H.323 videoconferencing for this seven part course. We meet every two weeks for an hour and a half after school on Thursdays. Specifically: 4:30-6:00 pm (Mountain) | 3:30-5:00 pm (Pacific) | 5:30-7:00 pm (Central) | 6:30-8:00 pm (Eastern). Our meeting dates for the course will be:

  • Feb 27 Introduction
  • March 6 & 27: Quick Edit Videos
  • April 10 & 24 : E-Books
  • May 8 & 22: Simulations or Games

Registration is discounted to $160 per person or $125 for groups of 2 or more if you register by February 17th. Visit the Western Montana CSPD website for complete details. We’d love to have educators from other states in addition to Montana join us for this fantastic course! Specifically, I’d love for YOU to join us!

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Visualize: Sticky Learning (Visual Notetaking)

Category : Tips

These are my slides for the opening keynote at tomorrow’s Oklahoma A+ Schools statewide conference in Norman. I’ve titled it, “Visualize: Sticky Learning” and will focus on visual notetaking. The presentation will just be 20 minutes long, so it’s a bit more like a TED talk than a “standard” conference keynote. I’m going to try and follow the TED Commandments!

I made a few revisions to the slides from earlier in the week, and changed the video I’m using to this one about the Olympics from ASAP Science which was just published yesterday but already has over half a million views: “How Olympians Have Changed (1924-2014).”

I’m using this video during the presentation for an activity in which audience members will actually practice visual notetaking. The video also shows how visual notes can become a whiteboard animation. More examples of both are available on the visual notetaking page of “Mapping Media to the Common Core.” I also added some examples of my own students’ visual notes, which they created in December during a lesson I titled, “Visual Notes and Dreaming BIG.”

Visual notetaking embodies Robert Marzano’s recommended instructional strategy of “non-linguistic representation.” It is also a practical, “do-able” way for teachers to encourage creative expression alongside deeper cognitive processing of lesson ideas. Visual Notetaking in the classroom can be wonderful, whether it’s done “old school” with paper and crayons or digitally using FREE iPad apps like Brushes 3, Paper by FiftyThree, Adobe Ideas or Inkflow.

In addition to challenging conference participants to practice visual notetaking themselves during the remainder of the conference, I’m also challenging them to watch Rachel Smith‘s fantastic TEDx talk, “Drawing in Class.” This is a must-see for every classroom teacher and professor. If I haven’t convinced you to start encouraging your students to use visual notetaking inside and outside of class, Rachel will!

Helping Students Use Creative Commons Images in Presentations

Category : Tips

I received an email question this week from another teacher in our district about how she can best help students use Creative Commons licensed images for their class presentations. This was my answer.

My new favorite way to have students create presentations with Creative Commons images is to use the free app or website Haiku Deck:

Students enter keywords and the app or website builds a PowerPoint presentation (which they can also import into an app like Explain Everything) with related images. It even puts the attribution website addresses at the bottom of each slide! It’s amazing and the only thing like it I’ve seen to date.

Other options are use the Flickr Creative Commons image search site:

or Compfight:

I would go with Haiku Deck… I think the image filtering there is better. Always the possibility of finding inappropriate images with image searches, so it’s something to be aware of.

I hope this helps! More image search options are on:

Combine Audioboo Sound Recordings with Audacity

Category : Tips

Audioboo is one of my favorite (and FREE) iPhone/iPad apps for audio recording and sharing. Since Audioboo provides HOSTING for audio files you record, it’s not necessary to find another website to share your audio recordings with others. Audioboo does this for you. In this post, I’ll explain how you can use a trick to directly save mp3 audio versions of Audioboo recordings you (or others) have shared online, and then combine them together in a single recording using free Audacity software on a laptop or desktop computer. This is a great technique to use if you want to combine multiple student “narrated art” projects with AudioBoo together, or if you want to create longer “radio show” student projects using AudioBoo to record the individual segments.

This December I used the free Audioboo app on my iPhone to record excerpts of several music concerts I attended at school and at church. These included four different recordings: Singing Oh Christmas Tree, Nostalgic for the 1950s, O Holy Night, and Images of Christmas. In order, these were recorded at Independence Elementary School in Yukon, Oklahoma, at Quail Creek Elementary in Oklahoma City, at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Oklahoma City, and at First Presbyterian Church in Edmond. The embedded AudioBoo versions are below.

These are the steps I followed to combine these four Audioboo audio files into a single mp3 file, which I shared on my “Sounds of My World” blog.

1. Save Audioboo recording as a MP3

When you click on the title of an Audioboo recording on your channel, the “direct link” to that Audioboo will open in your web browser. Add “.mp3” (without quotation marks) to the end of that direct web link, as shown below.

After you add .mp3 to the web link and press return or enter, your web browser will forward to the saved mp3 file for this recording on the Amazon S3 cloud.

With that mp3 file opened directly in your browser, choose FILE SAVE AS and save the mp3 file into a new folder on your computer. In this example, using the Chrome web browser, I saved the mp3 audio file into a new folder on my computer’s desktop.

2. Import MP3 Files into Audacity

Audacity is a free, cross-platform audio editing software program. (Cross-platform means it runs on Apple/Mac computers as well as Windows computers.) If you have not already, download and install Audacity on your computer. You will also want to download and install the free LAME encoder for MP3 files. From a technical standpoint, this can be the most tedious part of all these instructions. Refer to the Audacity wiki for help.

After completing the above steps, you should have a folder on your computer containing the four audio files you want to combine. In this example, I saved four different Audioboo mp3 files locally. It helps to put these in a new folder on your desktop for quick access.

Use the FILE – IMPORT menu command in Audacity to bring all the audio files you want to combine into a new Audacity project file.

By default when you import an audio file into Audacity, it will start at the 0:00 time mark. Use the TIME SHIFT tool (it looks like a horizontal timeline icon with arrows on its left and right sides) to drag each audio file to the time mark where you want them to start. Audacity will show a vertical yellow line when you reach the end of the preceding audio file, which can speed up this process if you imported your audio files in the same order you want them to play in the combined version.

3. Export Your Combined MP3 File

Now you are ready to export your combined audio file as a “flattened” MP3 audio file. Do this by choosing FILE – EXPORT in the Audacity menu.

Like QuickTime export settings, there are a lot of choices for MP3 audio exports in Audacity. Generally I use 32 kbps for spoken audio podcasts, and 64 kbps for files (like this example) which include music. You can use higher quality settings, but the better the quality settings the larger the final file size will be. This correlates to longer download times for people who will listen to your file.

If you don’t have a WordPress site where you can upload your audio files directly, as I do with “Sounds of my World,” you can upload your final combined file to another site. Good, free options include SoundCloud (which tracks numbers of plays and provides embed code) or Dropbox. You can upload to AudioBoo, but standard/free accounts have a 3 minute time limit for individual tracks. I recommend SoundCloud.

If you use these ideas to combine multiple audio files recorded with AudioBoo or another app/website, please let me know with a comment or via Twitter! Good luck and have fun combining audio recordings with Audacity!

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How to Share Videos from a School iPad Cart

Category : Tips

I visited with a K-3 librarian today who recently received a cart of iPads at her school for teachers to check out and use with students. She was unsure how to share videos the students create and save to their iPad camera rolls, however, with apps like iMovie, Puppet Pals, and Sock Puppets. In this post I’ll summarize my recommendations to her, which involve setting up a special Gmail account “for the cart” as well as a YouTube channel teachers and students can publish to with the free YouTube Capture app.

Setup a Gmail Account for the iPad Cart

In shared iPad cart situations, it’s generally best for students and teachers to NOT put their own email account credentials onto the iPads. When email credentials are saved in the iPad settings, it’s easy to forget to delete them after someone is finished using the iPad. From a security standpoint, teachers should NEVER give students direct access to an iPad or other computer which has their own email credentials saved / cached. One solution to this quandary, which has worked well in schools where I’ve helped coach teachers with technology integration techniques, is to ask the IT department to setup a special / unique Gmail account for the entire cart.

Once that Gmail account has been created, a librarian or teacher (or a team with parent volunteer help!) needs to enter and save the email credentials on EACH iPad in the cart. Do NOT directly provide the account password to students. The password can be saved in the iPad settings so a teacher doesn’t need to enter it each time students want to email media OUT from the iPad.

This email account serves two primary purposes for the cart. First, It permits students to email media (like photos) OUT from the iPad, to websites like a Blogger site used for 5 Photo Story projects. (See examples on Since the account will be used only to SEND email from the iPad and NOT check the account, some configuration changes are needed so students won’t be able to check any incoming email on the iPads. For those steps, refer to Tony Vincent’s excellent December 2011 post, “How to Set Up Gmail for School iPads and iPods.” Tony explains how to setup a custom Gmail filter so all incoming mail is deleted right away. The result is that the “iPad cart email account” is just a SENDING email account.

The one addition I’d make to Tony’s instructions involves the “signature file” for your iPads. In the mail account settings for the signature, instead of leaving it as the default “Sent from my iPad” I would change it to include the number of the iPad in your cart. For example, if you’re configuring iPad #6 in your cart, change the signature to read “Sent from iPad 6.” Of course students can delete or change this at the time they send an email, but many will not and this will provide some accountability if a message is sent that you need to research / figure out who sent it.

Setup a YouTube Channel for the iPad Cart

The second primary role your iPad Cart Gmail account can serve is to provide a YouTube Channel which can act as a “publishing sandbox” for the videos students will create using the iPads when they’re checked out out to them. If your school district is already using Google Apps for Education, YouTube is one of the services your network administrator / IT department can “turn on” for teacher and student use. Many schools still have YouTube blocked for teachers as well as for students. There are many different ways to address the issues raised by YouTube access, from objectionable content to bandwidth. On the content site, some schools are opting to use Google’s free “YouTube for Schools” Program. This provides student access to curated, educationally appropriate YouTube videos and more complete access for teachers. This is a good baseline for ALL schools. Blocking YouTube entirely for students today is analogous to some school districts a few years ago which blocked all access to YouTube includes fantastic educational content which students MUST be allowed to access. In addition, teachers (at a minimum) should be allowed to publish video content to YouTube from the school network. I recognize this isn’t “reality” in many schools today, but these are things we need to keep advocating for with administrators as well as board members. Like access to the Internet more generally, access to YouTube for teachers and at LEAST curated YouTube access for students today is a vital literacy issue. Blocking that access entirely is tantamount to stopping all student access to the library. It shouldn’t happen and we should advocate in appropriate ways to change policies if they overblock the web in schools, including YouTube.

Refer to this official Google support tutorial for instructions about setting up your YouTube channel.

Once your channel is setup, download and install the free YouTube Capture app on all the iPads on your cart. You or other teacher/parent helpers will need to individually login the apps to the shared cart’s YouTube account, using the Gmail address and password. Do this by clicking the “settings gear” icon in the lower left corner after launching the app. Once the login credentials have been saved, teachers or students will be able to directly upload saved videos from the iPad’s camera roll to the shared YouTube channel.

Suggestions and Guidelines for Teacher and Student Use

Ideally, teachers should always keep a record of what students checked out and used which iPads during a class period. That way if there is a question later regarding damage to an iPad or content created / published from a specific iPad, the responsible students can be more readily identified.

Use the language “video sandbox” to describe the shared YouTube channel you’ve created and will be sharing access to with teachers and students.

This YouTube channel is not designed to the primary video showcase site of your school or library. Rather, it’s a place to publish ALL KINDS of student work so it can be linked and embedded on other websites as needed/desired. What you do NOT want is a situation where a teacher or student says something like, “Well, this video isn’t an example of our best work, so we don’t want to publish it online.” Certainly there are times and contexts where work shouldn’t be shared publicly online. A large percentage of student work can and should be posted online, however, in an open format others can access to view.

Our tendency in many schools today, when it comes to digital sharing, is to “opt for private.” By privately sharing, we rob most of the power of digital publishing from the assignment and activity. Without question, both parent and student permission forms to share student work as well as photos and names MUST be signed first. Examples from several school districts are available. Once that permission is secured, students should be encouraged to share the majority of their digital work online so it can become part of their digital portfolios.

Here are two paragraphs included in my eBook, “Mapping Media to the Common Core: Part 1,” which I tweeted recently and would love for every teacher to copy and adapt as appropriate. We need to help coach teachers how to respond to questions like “Why are you using YouTube with my child?” and even role-play these kinds of responses. Here’s my suggested script:

Our school takes Internet safety and protecting student privacy very seriously, and as a teacher I do too. Parents and students have the choice of whether or not to post student work publicly online, but I strongly encourage it. Our national and local academic standards emphasize digital literacy, which includes students publishing and sharing their work online in a variety of multimedia formats. Our students have many choices about how they share their work online, and many of the digital projects we do don’t include student photographs or student faces in videos.

In addition to the requirements for students to learn digital literacy by actively practicing it online, there are many benefits to publishing student work online. One of the biggest is having an authentic audience. I want my students to share their work with a bigger audience than me, their teacher, because I know when they do they often do better work. It can be motivating for students to receive feedback and suggestions online not only from student peers, but also from parents, grand“grandparents, or other people living in different countries. I assure you we take Internet safety very seriously, and one of the ways we do that is by practicing safe ways to interact with others online. We never share our email addresses, phone numbers, or other personal numbers like that online with others. We talk about what is appropriate and not appropriate to post about online and talk with strangers about online, and I’m confident the digital publishing we do in our class is helping students learn to develop responsible digital citizenship skills

Be aware that open commenting is the DEFAULT setting for all YouTube videos. To err on the conservative side, teachers using the iPad cart YouTube channel may want to login and periodically “bulk edit” videos to change them to MODERATED commenting. This means comments others leave on your videos won’t show up until a teacher / account administrator approves them. It’s a good idea to embed YouTube videos on classroom blogs or other websites, where comments can be moderated by teachers. There is currently no way to set YouTube comment moderation ON by default, it has to be done after a video is uploaded. Thankfully (and this changed in the last six months) it IS possible to bulk-edit video settings including comment moderation.

Specifically train both teachers and students in a suggested syntax to use when uploading videos to a shared YouTube account. For example, the homeroom teacher’s last name might be used at the start or end of the title, along with a student’s first name or group name in the title. Tags can also be used to label videos. Without good titles and tags, uploaded videos can become “mystery media” artifacts with undefined authorship. Unfortunately, uploaded media which isn’t labeled properly can be “lost” in a channel filled with other videos, since it can’t be readily located using search keywords. This is the process of adding meta-information to digital content, and while it can certainly be OVER-done with too many requirements, it’s a mistake to under-emphasize it’s importance as well.

Hopefully these suggestions and tips are helpful to you. For a great video discussing the value and benefits of using a YouTube channel with students, see Ginger Gregory’s video with her students from last May, “Developing Communication Skills With YouTube & iPad Videos.” It’s one of my all-time favorite “quick edit videos” created with an iPad!

I’ll be leading a workshop in Yukon, Oklahoma next Wednesday on “Quick Edit Videography with iPads and iMovie” for Storychasers. Registration is available via EventBrite, and more information is available about iPad digital storytelling workshops by Storychasers. Also check out the curriculum and resources for iPad Media Camp, which addresses quick-edit videography in day 2.

Create iPad eBooks with Recorded Audio and Text Highlights FREE

Category : Tips

Today in the “apps playground” at the 2013 iPad Academy hosted by Chicago Public Schools, the awesome elementary teacher Autumn Laidler (@MsLaidler) taught me how to use the free iPad app “Little Story Maker” to create ebooks which include BOTH your recorded voice and “text highlights.” Like many books on the website, an eBook with “text highlights” has individual words highlight or change color as they are read aloud. I’ve wanted to create eBooks like this for a long time, and I’m so excited to know how to do it now! The main disadvantage of “Little Story Maker” is that it does not currently support any kind of eBook export, so you can only view the ebooks you and your students create on the same iPad used to make them. Autumn shared that the $2 app “Story Creator Pro” also supports audio recording and text highlights, and does support ebook exporting. I have not tried it yet, however.

This evening I recorded a six minute screencast demonstrating how “Little Story Maker” eBooks look and sound, and how you can create them.

The photos used in this enhanced ebook were originally created as a “5 Photo Story” in the July 2013 iPad Media Camp, and shared on my 5 Photo Stories blog on Blogger.

Little Story Maker for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad on the iTunes App Store

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Use IFTTT to Auto-Tweet New Posts from Your Classroom Blog

Category : Tips

IFTTT (If This Then That) is a fantastic, free website for filtering and managing information flows. After registering for a free IFTTT account, you can copy this “recipe” I created for my wife’s class blog today which auto-magically tweets out new posts.

IFTTT - Tweet after blogging

The trickiest part is probably identifying the “web feed” for your classroom blog, if you don’t already know it. If you’re using a free Kidblog site, as my wife is for her 3rd – 5th graders, you can simply add “/feed” after the root web address of your site to get the feed. This works since KidBlog is built on WordPress. Other blogging platforms may have a different default “feed” address.

IFTTT - Feed Trigger

IFTTT checks every 15 minutes to see if there is a new blog post available. If there is, it “triggers” and will tweet out the text you specify along with a link to your latest post. Note you can currently link an IFTTT account to only one Twitter account.

OKC Explorers (OKCExplorers) on Twitter

By copying this IFTTT recipe for your own class blog and class Twitter account, you can put your class Twitter account on “auto-pilot” for tweeting out new posts. Of course, you DEFINITELY should configure your class blog for MODERATED student posts, which means student posts don’t go live / public until you (as the classroom teacher and blog administrator) review and approve them. You also might encourage your students to use unique titles for their blog posts, since you don’t want twenty identical posts and tweets which say something like, “What I Did Last Summer.”

For more ideas related to classroom blogging, check out the “Interactive Writing” page of Mapping Media to the Common Core. Also check out Matt Hardy’s fantastic webinar in February 2013 on Classroom 2.0 Live.

Interactive Writing

Email Multiple Photos from an iPad to A Blogger Site

Category : Tips

Today in iPad Media Camp in Manhattan, Kansas, participants learned how to email multiple photos from an iPad to a Blogger website, using a “secret email address” defined in the Blogger settings. This technique works well when creating 5 Photo Story projects with students or with teachers in professional development settings. In this post, I’ll describe how iPad Media Camp participants did this, including the way iOS 6 supports changing the SIZE of image attachments. This is important, since email services (including Gmail) limit the total size of file attachments which can be sent using them.

In my March 2013 post, “Options for Posting by Email (RIP Posterous)“, I described how to configure a free Blogger website to permit photo posting by email. This annotated screenshot from the post summarizes the required configuration settings.

Blogger - Settings to Post by Email

To email more than one photo from the photo roll on an iOS device (an iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch) for a five photo story project, it’s helpful to first add the photos you want to send to a new album. In the album, you can edit the order of the photos. In this way, you can insure the photos (when attached to a single email message) will be in the desired order so they’ll post to your Blogger site sequentially.

To email more than one photo from an iPad or other iOS device, after opening the Photo Roll click the EDIT button in the upper right corner.


Next, tap once on each photo you want to select and send.


Third, click the SHARE button in the upper left corner and choose EMAIL. In some cases today, the email option did not appear on a participant’s iPad until they selected a SINGLE photo and chose to email it by itself. After making that selection, however, (and canceling the email instead of sending it) the iPad offered the option of emailing when multiple photos were selected. (This seemed strange, but that was the workaround we discovered.)


An email message should open with all five (or however many photos) you’ve selected as attachments. In previous versions of iOS, a popup menu would display asking if you wanted to send small, medium, large, or original versions of the photos. In the current iOS 6 software, however, users need to click IMAGES and the combined size of the attached files on the top right side of the mail message to view these options.

Click images and size

After the IMAGE SIZE options are displayed at the top of the email message, tap to select the desired size. The combined size of the attached images will be shown. Choose a file size which is less than the attachment limit for your email service. (For standard Gmail accounts, the attachment limit is 25 MB. If your school uses Google Apps for Education, your network administrator may have configured your attachment file size limit differently.)

Click to Select a Smaller Size

If you send this email to the correct address configured on your Blogger site for mobile/email posting, it should post (as this “Red Riding Hood” example from the group my youngest daughter, Rachel, was helping today) did.

5 Photo Stories: Red Riding Hood

Remember if you’re having students post photos or other information by email to a Blogger site, you DEFINITELY want to have those submissions saved as DRAFT posts which you can review and moderate rather than immediately posting publicly to the site. The following image (also included in the March 2013 post, “Options for Posting by Email (RIP Posterous)“) shows a matrix of features available when posting content by email to Blogger, Tumblr, and WordPress sites.

Post by Email Options and Features

Posthaven is the relatively-inexpensive-but-still-not-free stepchild of Posterous which is still under development by former developers/creators of Posterous, but it still doesn’t support posting by email. (According to the Posthaven blog.) Posting photos by email to a Blogger site can work fine, but in the ISTE BYOD session “iOS Mobile Storychasing” which I led with Dana Owens-Delong, we discovered there IS a maximum number of posts by email which can be submitted in a 24 hour period. (Dean Mantz actually discovered this.)

If you know of alternative or better ways to post 5 photo stories to a website with email attachments, please share them! At this point, the steps I’ve described here using Blogger appear to be the best option for teachers and students.

Visual Notetaking at ISTE 2013

Category : Creativity , Tips

I have learned a great deal about visual notetaking the past year as I’ve been working on my second eBook project, “Mapping Media to the Common Core: Vol I.” Canadian educator Giulia Forsythe has been and continues to be inspirational to me as a VERY amateur and “emerging” visual notetaker. Rachel Smith’s 18 minute TEDx talk, “Drawing in Class,” has also been a big influence. Since I believe we should all “walk our talk,” I resolved before the ISTE 2013 conference to try the suggestions of Giulia and Rachel at some of the conference sessions and create my own visual notes. Here are the results.

My visual notes of Stephen Johnson‘s morning keynote today at ISTE:

Where Do Good Ideas Come From?

My visual notes from the panel discussion Steve Hargadon led on Monday on “School 2.0.”

School 2.0 #iste13

Most of the drawings of people still look like they were drawn by an advanced second grader in these sketches, but I’m reminded of both Giulia and Rachel’s advice: Visual notetaking is not about creating great art, it’s about creating images which convey personal meaning for the artist. The litmus test of successful visual art is whether or not someone can summarize key points from a lecture or presentation, using his/her visual notes as a memory aid. That is something I CAN do fairly well using both these visual note examples, so I’m pleased with my ISTE 2013 drawing experiments.

I used the full version of Brushes for iPad (with the $3 layers upgrade) along with a Rocketfish stylus to draw both these visual note examples. Following the advice of Giulia, I drew the outlines of my shapes in narrow point black, and then used a background layer to fill in with color afterwards. I like the effect and am really pleased with these drawings as my formative attempts at visual notetaking. I’ve used Brushes for iPad a bit in the past, it’s the tool I used to create my icons for the Mapping Media digital literacy framework. My familiarity with pinching to zoom in and out was definitely helpful in creating these drawings this week.

What Do You Want to Create Today?

One of the most interesting things about creating these drawings was interacting with other people around me in the sessions who had been watching me take notes. After both sessions, I had several conversations with people about visual notetaking and the value of asking students to nonlinguistically represent ideas in a lecture or from a presentation like this. I may have won over some new visual notetaking converts! I encouraged people in both cases to watch Rachel Smith’s TEDx talk, “Drawing in Class.” Hopefully if you haven’t already, you will as well… and you’ll be inspired to give visual notetaking a try too. Check out my page for visual notetaking on “Mapping Media to the Common Core.” Also check out my eBook on media products 1 – 6 in the Mapping Media framework. It’s $5.

Changing Our Vocabulary as Technology Integration Coaches

This Tuesday afternoon, from 1-3 pm, I’ll be sharing a poster session at the ISTE Conference in San Antonio on the topic, “Changing Our Vocabulary as Technology Integration Coaches.” The basic idea is that non-techy terms are important when we want to win the hearts and minds of parents as well as other teachers in our rapidly changing digital information landscape. It’s easy to intimidate or confuse someone with acronyms, when it comes to educational technology or almost any other field. If we can avoid jargon when we talk about media products students can produce to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of concepts, it can help others open their minds to new possibilities instead of being closed off.

Here is the image I’m using for my actual poster in the session. It’s also available as a PDF file. Feel free to use and share this if it’s helpful to you – The hand drawn graphics are part of the “Mapping Media to the Common Core” website and framework.

Changing Our Vocabulary for Technology Integration

These are the paragraphs I’m including in my forthcoming eBook, “Mapping Media to the Common Core: Volume I” on this subject:

Acronyms and jargon can easily confuse and turn-off someone with whom you’re having a conversation. The names of the media products in Mapping Media to the Common Core were deliberately selected to avoid confusion and the “intimidation factor” which can set in when people start using “techy terms.” Instead of using the world “blog,” talk with other teachers about “interactive writing.” Instead of talking about making a podcast, talk about creating a “radio show.” Instead of talking about a specific tool or platform like AudioBoo for recording student voices and adding a related photo, discuss the value of creating “narrated art” together.

All of the media product terms in the Mapping Media framework are worded so they are neither device nor platform specific. While the author is an enthusiastic proponent of using iOS devices (iPads, iPhones, and iPod Touches) to create media products as well as Google’s free web tools like YouTube, Google Docs and Blogger, teachers and students do NOT have to use Apple computing devices nor Google’s web services to create the media products in this framework. Whatever your hardware, software, and connectivity options may be, the author encourages you to “use them well” and help students create multimedia products which can become part of their digital portfolios. Adopt a technology use philosophy similar to this sign in the instructional technology consultants’ hallway in Saskatoon Public Schools, Saskatchewan: “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”

Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.

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