Monday, October 31, 2011

Preparing to Mash: Step Two

Camera in position
Over a few days I was able to capture digital images of some activities in the school library in preparation for creating my video.
Note: In September our school requests a standard student permission form be signed by parents. This year the form included a statement that photographs could be taken and used by teachers in the classroom, on school websites, school blogs and in professional publications. I asked all student subjects if their parents had agreed to allow photos to be taken and used. 

I have decided to create Lougheed Library: the movie and publish it to YouTube. "YouTube is where more and more of our students go to publish the artifacts of their lives" (Richardson, 2009) and there is the possibility of engaging students in library use through a video on YouTube. 

I realized when reviewing my video that I would have to edit the content before uploading my video to Masher. I have access to Movie Maker through the Microsoft Windows operating system on my home computer. Movie Maker is downloadable from the internet for those who need to add it to their computer. Student use may be limited without Windows bundles and if school systems are frozen to downloads. I watched the YouTube tutorials again and decided to collect still images as well. is downloaded and ready for my edited video.
I am ready for step three!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

To Mash or Not to Mash?: Step One

My first and only venture into video creation was a year ago when I prepared a web cam recorded video of a storytelling for a wiki I created for a parent literacy conference. I lack understanding of the requirements for creating (read editing) a video. I have a web cam and a camera with a video option which I occasionally use inadvertently. Most students have a camera of some kind and share digital images regularly. Kist (2010) suggests that we are becoming more screen based and that "reading will not only encompass print but also images, sound and motion as well."(p.25)

When a member of staff asked me to help him find an online video sharing technology to use instead of Animoto, I started to look more closely at what was available. Byrne (n.d.) listed a  number of video creation tools on Richard Byrne's Favourite Tech Tools for Teachers. I was attracted by his description of this "great free tool"(para. 3) offering video clips, music, skins and special effects which could be assembled by dragging and dropping. Users can also upload and use their own music, stills, and video clips.

My YouTube search results include a number of Tutorials:
Using video, Using audio, Using text, Using skins, Using effects, and most interesting, Some Editing Rules.

Unfortunately, Masher "editing rules" include that the length of the video is its original uploaded length and can not be edited. In order to create a video using this technology I will need to access a video editing tool before uploading to Masher. In the event that I use clips from the site this is not an issue but creating an original video will require the extra step of video editing using Movie Maker or another editing technology. I thought about using the YouTube editing feature but our school board has just recently unblocked YouTube access and I am not willing to depend on a continuation of YouTube availability when introducing video to classes.
Watching the YouTube tutorials has convinced me that the extra effort will be worth the time. Fourth of 6 Web 2.0 tools

Another digital need is video editing. I intend to use to create a video by assembling music, sound effects, still and or video images. I have no experience, understanding or knowledge of video editing so rank myself at something less than novice; the fear factor is rearing its head. I had thought to use a flip camera to create a video and then edit it online, but I don’t know the tools well enough to select an editing tool and am aware that many sites are blocked by my school board. A list of free and easy video editing tools prepared by Brown (2011) includes:,,,,,,,,, and I had thought to use Animoto because I had heard of it from a colleague but feel it might be limited by using only still images. allows the mixing of video images, sound effects, music, and photos and provides access to free sources for students without personal digital images. Our school board has unblocked YouTube and preparing a video for posting seems like a logical extension of accessing videos on the internet. I feel a video editing tool would engage middle school students connecting to their choice of online entertainment and access to hand held devices with video capability. Byrne (2011) simply states the reason why we should create video in our classroom is engagement, accessibility and community.  I would like to assist students to create a video to add to the library blog or possibly create a video showing the painting of a watercolour.  
(Note: Recent changes may have added video editing to Animoto)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

We are not going back!

This post on the blog Hey Jude: learning in an online world caught my Teacher-librarian eye. 
Teacher librarians are important.
I especially liked this image:

Image cc licensed ( BY NC ) flickr photoshared by mikefisher821

But, more importantly these words:

"Be sure you are understand online learning environments and the extra-ordinary potential of the social-media mind. Be sure you are involved with and present new ways and new information strategies to your teachers when working within the curriculum and the full knowledge dimension of learning. Be sure you bring with you a full understanding of information literacy and information fluency as the underpinning of all that you do."

Happily, I am able to report that yesterday I successfully negotiated with my principal and opened a Campus account to allow 750 students and 30 teachers access to Weebly for class websites and blogs. We are not going back!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Inanimate Alice - Subscribe!

Inanimate Alice - Subscribe!

From the Inanimate Alice site:
"Inanimate Alice is Transmedia - designed from the outset as a story that unfolds over time and on multiple platforms, the episodes are available on all devices capable of running Adobe’s Flash Player. ‘Alice’ connects technologies, languages, cultures, generations and curricula within a sweeping narrative accessible by all. As Alice’s journey progresses, new storylines appear elsewhere providing more details and insights, enriching the tale through surprising developments. Students are encouraged to co-create developing episodes of their own, either filling in the gaps or developing new strands."

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

My 3 Podcasting Hats

My Learning:
-follow episodes of TED Education, The Audacity to Podcast, and Clever Sheep
-unlimited possibilities for professional development (if I only had an ipod)

-engage auditory learners
-alternate presentation task
-read aloud books for English Language Learners and add to library blog
-enlist students to read aloud for school library podcasts
-engaging students in learning through use of Web 2.0 audio files
-sharing with parents
-presently collaborating with a grade 8 teacher to produce podcasts for water issues project (6 more microphones are on my shopping list)

-send audio messages to friends and family
-promote my storytelling as a business
-add 'think aloud' podcasts to my artist website
-blog posts as audio files

Audacity Pros and Cons

  • free download
  • add music, sound effects on different tracks
  • easy editing, cut, paste, copy
  • adjust volume of tracks
  • easy upload to hosting site
  • student engagement 
  • download from internet requires LAME additional download to create MP3
  • requires podcast hosting site

PodOmatic Pros and Cons

  • free hosting site with recording capabilities
  • allows syndication, following
  • variety of listening opportunities
  • single track or multi-track player options
  • upload audio file from audacity easily
  • links to Blogger, email, Facebook
  • embed code, URL and RSS feed available
  • comments and social networking for podOmatic users
  • anyone with internet can create and publish a podcast 
  • no editing options
  • must rerecord to correct errors
  • one track only-cannot add music or sound effects
  • stores only audio podcasts

Promoting Podcasts: Step Four

Online comment regarding podcasts reflects the ability to subscribe and share these free prerecorded (usually not professionally edited) audio files. Fryer (2010) posted on his wiki, Teach Digital: Curriculum: Introduction to Educational Podcasting, "Feeds let you pull information when you want it, rather than having it pushed to you like spam. Podcasts use feeds so people can SUBSCRIBE to them with podcatching software like iTunes or Juice."(para 5)
I like accessing podcasts on Google reader and will use iTunes to catch TED talks, Clever Sheep, TVO's Big Ideas and CBC's Writers and Company.
Subscriptions are an integral part of podcasting. The Wizzard Media podcasting network celebrated "15,000 shows (which) encompass approximately 1 million audio and video episodes, downloaded over 1.4 billion times in 2009."
This post will illustrate some of the podOmatic tools used to promote and share podcasts.

We're Going on a Bear Hunt
The above link was added to this blog using the podOmatic share link designated for Blogger. 

When users click on a podcast listed in their profile the following episode screen shows what other podOmatic users see. The site allows social networking and comments for each podcast as well as the ability to share, embed, email and link to Facebook.
PodOmatic includes other tools for promoting podcasts.
My podcast URL is:

The RSS feed is:

I was able to add a podOmatic badge similar to the one below at the bottom of this blog which links to my podcast library. 
I enjoyed working with podOmatic to create and publish podcasts. I like the multi-track player and the ease of recording and playing episodes. I look forward to podcasting with my students. I anticipate being able to use podcasts/screencasts for staff professional development when introducing new technology. It will be far easier to email a link for a screen capture or a podcast  than to encourage staff to attend an after school session.

Preparing to Podcast-Speaking:Step Three

"Just because you or your students can create a podcast doesn't mean you should." (Williams, 2007. p.12) Consideration of the content for my podcast lead me to try to meet the need for audio texts for our ELL students and to record some of the stories in my repertoire.
Multitrack player option
To create my podcasts, two dual language books were chosen from the school library.  I chose to read the story We're Going on a Bear Hunt and made the recording using the Audacity program . After many attempts including deleting and rerecording sections of the tracks and cutting to correct timing errors,  I was finally satisfied with the results. I added a public domain music prelude and conclusion to the Audacity recording.

In order to provide a host for my Audacity recording I registered for a account and was able to upload my mp3 audacity file.
Upon closer inspection I found that I could record directly to PodOmatic with one button recording. Using the site's recording feature I created a podcast of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves,  selected a photo for the podcast and promoted my podcasts by tagging, labeling them Education K-12 and embedding the codes in this post.

Note: PodOmatic does not allow access to the tracks for editing. I needed to record the story twice to correct miscues. 
Single-track player option

When I was prepared to add my podcast to the iTunes library I found that I was expected to register a credit card with the site. My hesitation to do so will limit my access to uploading to iTunes. I will depend on the PodOmatic site and this blog for promotion.

I recorded a telling of The Tailor using PodOmatic and was instantly successful completing the process and preparing to embed the podcast in this post.

PodOmatic allows users to select and embed either a multi-track player or single-track player. Listeners are able to scroll through seeing the photo representations and selecting the podcast of their choice.

I have added a page to the school library blog and embedded two of the podcasts for student access. The simplicity of accessing these podcasts does not require a screencast for student instruction. Instead I have created a screen capture to show how to use PodOmatic.
The screen cast is limited to five minutes and I found running both PodOmatic and Jing during the screen capture slowed down the internet connection considerably. Rerecording the jing screencast with all other windows closed allowed me to finish the screencast with time to spare.
I am proud of myself for being able to reduce the size of the jing image in the html embed code in order for the screencast to fit more neatly within the post. I will keep available on my desktop for future use.

Unable to display content. Adobe Flash is required.  
In addition to creating podcasts for student projects, books for ELL learners, storytelling and teacher PD, Stodt (2009) suggests librarians can introduce podcasts
of "audio walking advertise new books and resources or to provide
information and news about the library." (p.104)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Preparing to Podcast-Listening: Step Two

I am not an MP3 owner, nor an iTunes user although I have purchased many iTunes cards for consumption by my nieces. 
There are many podcast hosting sites online. Most can be searched and podcasts selected for immediate listening, downloading or can be subscribed to using an RSS feed., Education Podcast Network, Fairy Tale Corner,, and are some sites where a variety of podcasts can be accessed.

Richardson (2009) wrote of the ease of `locating and subscribing to recent educational podcasts using iTunes. Simply put, ``Once you have it up and running, just go...and click.`` (p. 112)
Through iTunes I began by subscribing to:
  • Two Tech Chicks       
  • Writers and Company from CBC Radio       
  • The Clever Sheep       
  • Teachers Teaching Teachers #267                  
  • EdTechTalk    
  • Book Review  Podcast                      
  • TEDTalks Education                         
  • Storynory - Stories For Kids                         
  • TVO Big Ideas (Video) and (Audio)                        
  • K-12 Greatest Hits: The Best Ideas in Education 
  • Teachers Teaching Teachers
Some of the podcasts are interesting, educational and will draw me back to listen again. Others I find are not very professional and lacking in content. Selective listening for  professional development, personal learning and entertainment will limit my use to easily accessible, clearly described podcasts.

A Google search for podcasts lead me to PodCast and I identified interesting podcast sites amoung the Education, People's Choice, Best Video, Best Produced and Technology nominees which I subscribed to using Google Reader.
  • Caustic Soda
  • Kid Friday
  • Quirks and Quarks 
  • Tekzilla
  • This Week in Tech
  • The Audacity to Podcast 
Because podcasts can be created by anyone, evaluation is important. Criteria for website evaluation should be extended to podcasts. In addition to authenticity, credibility, and currency podcast evaluation should include "technical qualities, subscription availability and availability of additional support materials."(Berger, 2010,p.133)

Podcasting Possibilities: Step One

Wikipedia defines podcasting as “a series of digital media files (either audio or video) that are released episodically and often downloaded through web syndication.” I was mistaken in thinking podcasts were audio only and have found after searching Twitter, Diigo groups and Google Reader that video is also a part of podcasting. Casel (2011) writes in 7 Tips for Launching a Successful Podcast ,
          Podcasts are among the oldest types of syndicated content on the web.
          Yet the format remains a popular choice among content producers looking
          to connect with a wide audience. Audio podcasts were the norm for many
          years, but video has taken the podcasting world to new heights. (para 2)
Richardson (2009), Berger and Trexler (2010) explain that podcasting includes audio, screencasting and video. I feel it is important to my inquiry into podcasting to include the creation of screen, video and audio podcasts.

1. Recording of readings of books in the school library for our English Language Learners (ELL).

2. Storytelling of some of my favourite folktales using both audio and video podcasts to evaluate the impact of each media

3. Screencast showing how to use PodOmatic hosting site to create a podcast.

4."Since many of the most prolific podcasters are educators,"(Williams, 2007) it makes sense to access a variety of audio and video podcasts for professional development as well as entertainment.

5.Why not get the students to create podcasts.."Podcasting provides students with new ways of knowing and problem solving and enables them to demonstrate their newfound understanding in compelling and significant ways." (Ishizuka, 2005, p.57)

Audacity: Third of 6 Web 2.0 Tools

 Audacity is a tool I would like to use to record and edit audio files. I would share these podcasts on the internet and use the iTunes site to select and subscribe to download from a selection of free podcasts in a variety of genres. Not all students appreciate the opportunity to perform their own work in front of the class. This tool will allow an alternate to a face to face oral presentation style for some and an interesting connection to the iPods and MP3 players that most students own. Richardson writes, “These kids are really motivated to write and think and prepare these podcasts because they know they are going to be published, that others will hear them”. (para. 2) In my attempt to engage in more online professional development I would like to explore podcasts for teachers. Berger (2010) lists a number of podcast directories as well as instructions to search using the word podcast as a search term. I will demonstrate the use of podcasting by creating a podcast and a playlist of my favourites. I wonder if our teacher of English Language Learners (ELL) would be interested in posting the recorded books her Book Club produced last year with a link to the podcasts on the library blog. Because I have only once created a Voicethread podcast myself I remain a novice podcaster even though I have worked with a number of classes to use the Audacity program. 

Grade 7 Classes Go Paperless

I opened an email from a teacher librarian colleague this morning. She had been to the ECOO (Educational Computing Organization of Ontario) Conference. I followed links to the site and to this video created by a paperless grade 7 class, Social Media in Grade 7. Although the videos are from 2010 I have subscribed to recieve updates through the site.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

School Libraries: What's Now, What's Next, What's Yet to Come

"A crowd sourced collection of over 100 essays from around the world about trends in school libraries written by librarians, teachers, publishers, and library vendors. Edited by Kristin Fontichiaro and Buffy Hamilton. Foreword by R. David Lankes."

School Libraries: What's Now, What's Next, What's Yet to Come is a free e-book.

Follow this link to download your free copy.

It takes seconds to download and there are a variety of  formats available.

Friday, October 21, 2011

This is How I Remember: "D" Day

My dad was in the Canadian Navy during World War II. He never really talked about the war but he did write this for our family. I would like to share it with you.
H.M.C.S. Fort William-J 311, 31st Minesweeper Flotilla
Built: Port Arthur, Ontario
Commissioned: 1942
Stationed: Halifax, Nova Scotia - North Atlantic Ocean
Duties: Minesweeping and Convoy escort off Canada’s East coast and the English Channel
 Approximately one week prior to the invasion, HMCS Fort William was anchored with hundreds of other ships in the harbour at Portland England.  No leave was granted or mail allowed going ashore during that period.  All mail was being held until after the landing.  No sailing orders had been received and we could only guess why we were there. 

In the early hours of the morning of June 6th 1944 all ship’s companies were informed by their captains of the time and place of the invasion.  HMCS Fort William was to mine sweep Omaha Beach to allow American battleships, cruisers and destroyers to get close enough to shell the German shore batteries and prevent them from shelling the Allied ships. 

The ships in the harbour had been at the ready and only required the extra boilers to be flashed up and the anchors lifted.  Each ship had been given their orders as to the time and place as they left the harbour and steamed toward France.  All along the coast of the west of England thousands of ships sailed in the dark with out any lights showing, heading for their designated beaches to carry out their part in the operation. This was the start of Operation Neptune. 

Operation Neptune was the code word for the naval operation to support the “D”- Day landings and the Fort William was to go in first with the other mine sweepers to sweep Omaha Beach.  

It was pitch black that morning and the water was pretty rough.  It was also deadly quiet until the big guns on the battleships suddenly started firing over our ship.  We could see the mass of ships, when the sky lit up with the gun flashes. 

When we had finished our sweep our orders were to steam back behind the gun ships.  Before turning we snagged our sweep wire on an underwater obstacle that the Germans had left to catch enemy ships or tanks.  While we were stopped trying to free the ship from the wire we could watch the American landing barges heading for the beaches.  I am sure many of them were seasick as well as being scared.

Some of the sailors manning the barges were unable to locate the beach they were to land the troops at and had to come along side our ship calling up to the bridge where our captain would give them directions to their landing position.  Getting stuck was not planned but supplied the Yanks with a needed traffic cop. 

The planners chose a good day even if it was rough because the following day proved to be rougher still and caused a lot of ships that tried to anchor plenty of problems and damage. 

We were required to remain off the coast of France, refueling and sweeping Cherbourg Harbour.  We returned to Canada in September 1945.

C.P.O. Andy Holwerda 1921 - 2005
Chief Petty Officer

Veterans Affairs Web 2.0

I checked my work email this afternoon and through a listserve  (
I was directed to Veterans Afffairs to order our Remembrance Day Resources. The link took me to an invitation to use the internet to remember.
Share It. Tag It. Link It.
The challenge is simple. Use the videos and images available on this site to create a mashup, a virtual scrapbook, a fan page or decorate your space. The options are endless. Share with others and link back to our Web site.

Collaboration, Creation, Sharing, Web 2.0, social networking.
...and a mobile app! This is where education should be.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

My 3 Interactive image hats

-addition of interactive photos to my future watercolour website 
-links to social networking sites
-instruction of my nieces for school presentations 
-adding sound and links to pictures of holiday locations

(requires Thinglink embedded in web page or blog)
-engage visual and kinesthetic learners
-student web page photo essay
-author studies
-interactive book reports 
-interactive storytelling
-detailed links explaining historical photos
-instead of power point presentation
-professional sharing of screen capture
-visualization role in discussion/literature circles
-science observations
-interactive self assessment
-virtual field trip with sound effects and links to additional information
-virtual road trip (country study)
-demonstrate learning in future online courses