By Paul Silli
It was beautiful weather on Tuesday with warm, clear blue skies and snow capped summer mountains.
The conference started with an upbeat, inspirational speech from the keynote speaker – Tim Tyson. Dr. Tyson reviewed using his families life-experiences the importance of using technology to enhance learning. He shared student-video samples that were created by his high school teachers, and outlined the importance – and privilege of teaching.
Witihin my first session I learned about the program Photo Story (iPhoto) which is an image manipulator — presented by Charlene Baker. This Web 2.0 program is open source, meaning it is free to use online. The program is similar to Adobe Photo Manager – in that it offers you the ability to edit, crop, resize and change the content of images which you can then send multiple pictures to a compile list where your photographs or clipart can be stored to create collages,and digital stories. You can edit graphics and upload them into any internet site, wiki, or other media rich projects. Students can use this program for many purposes from adding graphics to a formal report, to making family photo albums or digital timeline sequences.
The second session to mention was also presented by Dr. Tim Tyson called: “Film Festival Bootcamp.” During this class he showed participants many student movie samples from his high school students which were created for their science classes. He suggested using student movie-productions applications such as MS Movie-Maker to create Digital Reports, and group presentations. He said it is important for students to make an emotional connection with their audience by using zoom-in (panning) features. He also mentioned adding appropriate sound tracks and other sound effects and color schemes to enhance production work. He recommended that if teachers want to use movie productions in their course lessons that they make sure they do not make any money from the movies. Dr. Tyson emphasized the need to uphold copyright laws; and only to distribute the films content for educational purposes. It also was recommended teachers strictly monitor the movie content to make sure it is appropriate for student and adult viewing (PG rating).
I also enjoyed a session about “Podcasting” for students which was presented by Jonathan Bergmann. He explained by using Podcasts’ you can save time by avoiding formal class lectures which can give instructors more time to offer one-on-one assistance to students. He suggested using video-pictures with audio presentations (VodPods or Video Casts) as warm-up sessions, to break-up long units, editing pics, and open lessons to help get students interested and involved (students seem to enjoy Podcasts). One of the greatest elements of using Podcast is students can go back to the video and rewind/play the movie to repeat content. This is especially great for special ability students who often need content repeated for clarity. Podcasts’ offer teachers the opportunity to give more hands-on projects to kids. It just will take some time to create them for your curriculum…
Additionally I liked learning about the Digital Story Telling application called: “Frames-4, by Tech4Learning.” This program offers you the opportunity to teach your students how to use flash media, make animated movies with clipart and movie images and songs, edit and make movie pictures and format your work into .gifs which is universal viewable formats. The program was given to each participant “free” to use for education purposes. If you want to use the program at home for personal use you can purchase a license for about $38. Receiving the program free was terrific! I will be using this program with my kids next school year.