Screen casting for the first time

My final assignment for my EdTech 513 Multimedia class was to create a screencast. My challenge was to try and apply the principles and theories which I have been learning about to a finished piece of work. Screen casting is not too tricky, the software does all the technical parts, what is important is that you have a script and have rehearsed what you are going to say and do.

I decided to make a screencast which would serve as an introduction to Thinglink for teachers and pupils in our school. I was familiar with Thinglink and so it seemed to make sense to choose something which would actually help and be used. Overall I am happy with the finished piece of work. There is one part in the middle where I tried to pull up a link and it didn’t work. I stopped the recording and adjusted but did not edit it out in the final piece. Voila doesn’t let me do that and so I left it it. I don’t think it detracts from the overall quality too much…

I tried hard to keep my voice sounding natural as possible and I am pretty happy with the outcome. In order to add some dimension to the video, I added questions with Education. If you have not used it, it is a great resource which lets you add a variety of different questions to videos really easily. It adds a layer of involvement to the watching experience. I have only used it once before so my timings are a little out.

Have a look and do please leave feedback.

Great class, great semester. All the best to those of you who are graduating.

www.educanon.com/public/99153/228135

Andrew

Using HTML templates

This week’s learning in our EdTech 502 class involved using HTML and CSS templates. On paper this sounded like fun. It was fun looking at them all. I spent hours looking at different templates. When I decided on some I liked and downloaded them. Then I hit  a wall. I got myself into a mess with where to put files, which files were important and wanting my page to look far better than I was actually able to understand. I learned  lot this week and have tried to summarize some observations below.

1. I am not a business and do not need an overly fancy website.

2 It was really easy to get sucked into things that looked great but that I didn’t really understand. It was like passing my driving test and wanting to drive a Ferrari on day one. Good things don’t happen.

3.There are some clear trends in website design at the moment which don’t lend themselves to a simple portfolio homepage (big images, fancy graphics, sliders etc)

4.Give yourself time to play and troubleshoot.

This week I was on holiday and so had some time to play with. Luckily for me! I worked on this for a few days and only got it all together on the final day. I was distracted by the beauty of some websites which were far too complex under the hood for me to understand. I eventually settled on a template I loved and discovered it was XHTML which brought up problems with differences in code that I had to learn along the way. I really didn’t know where and how to save my templates so that they were in the correct part of the 502 folder. I figured it out eventually but it took some time to reconnect css files in the correct way.

Overall, I am really happy with the page I created. I like the look and everything works. It has potential to expand and change and grow with me over the next couple of years. Once I figured where to save the template I enjoyed playing with the code to try and get it to do what I wanted. I created some icons and managed to solve the most number of errors I have ever had with my validation. XHTML is different and I had to really read up to problem solve. I will work on using different templates in the future and hopefully I will get some feedback from my peers.

I can highly recommend templates.co as a resource for free and premium templates. A tough week with a good end result.

 

Cheers Andrew

Techy Talk for Teachers: an adventure in podcasting

This last two weeks I have been creating my first ever. . . but hopefully not last, podcast. As an activity for my Multimedia course, I had to write, record, edit and publish a podcast. The technical side of things proved quite easy. I had previously used Audacity but for this longer episode switched to Garageband which I had not used for a podcast before. It was straightforward to edit and add little jingles and sound files and I managed to save as an mp3 with no trouble.

The hard part was coming up with a topic. I spent most of the two weeks going back and forth on how I could create content that was actually useful to someone else and could be relevant in a nice simple format. I hummed and hawed on a lot of topics but eventually settled on the idea which I have detailed below.

The name of the podcast series is: Techy Talk for Teachers.

The series of podcasts will cover Ed Tech ideas and resources which are aimed largely at elementary school teachers but which really can be used across all areas. It might seem easy taking the EdTech option but I felt it was what I could get excited about and what other teachers might be able to use. I wanted it to be pretty jargon free and easy going which I think I have accomplished. Hopefully it is a podcast which someone with limited ICT/EdTech experience would not be intimidated by.

The first episode, has an introduction and reviews of thinglink.com and classdojo.com as well as a reflection on the power of Twitter for professional development.

I enjoyed writing and recording it. Listening to your own voice is never fun but then my students have to do it all the time so I was probably due it! I hope you enjoy the episode and I am actually going to try and keep it going  – certainly as a resource in our school and across our group of international schools.

Hope you enjoy and thanks in advance if you make it to the end.

Andrew

Here is a link to the file in dropbox. 

My Multimedia Presentation for EdTech513

This week as I sat down to create my presentation the hardest thing was choosing the topic. As a 5th grade teacher, there were a huge number of things which I could do and wanted to do – too many.  As a result, I went back to the guidelines and my own refections on presentations which I have done poorly to try and come up with a suitable topic. My thinking was pretty much based on the guidelines.

I chose the topic of Multiplication which some of our pupils struggle with. We have pupils from all over the world who have had a variety of different methods taught to them. This method is just one that we use as we encourage pupils to find what works for them. No, one-size-fits-all.

I ended up with quite a few slides but still think I could work through this with my class in 5/6 minutes or so. I also thought of it as a resource which could be put in our class folder so the pupils could work through it at their own pace. Maybe with an audio narration or just letting them read some simplified speakers notes. I wanted it to be useful and shareable.

I stuck to very plain white background and didn’t include any images which had no meaning. Not even a smiley maths cartoon on the first page which I would have usually have done! I tried to stick to the things which I had learned. My images are actually numbers and a grid rather than traditional ‘pictures’. I created them all in Slides and so didn’t have to go looking for them. I thought it would be easier to keep them all looking similar that way. I kept words to a minimum and tried to place them beside my images following the principles which I have learned about from my reading.

I think it works quite well. I will try it out in school tomorrow and post some of the feedback which I get from the pupils. That is always the real measure of a resource. I will be interested to hear their thoughts.

Here is a link to my presentation: Multiplication using the grid method.

Feedback greatly appreciated.

Andrew