Category Archives: nextgenteachers

Academic Aesthetic 160: Flickr Video

Wow, 160 … that’s almost a milestone, isn’t it?  I suppose I should take the time to try out something new then, huh?

In any case, here’s a quick rundown on my opinions concerning Flickr’s decision to host videos:

  • Flickr’s video hosting is to most online videos as Twitter is to most blog posts.
  • 90 seconds is very short.
  • If you edit well, 90 seconds can be enough. (Remember, most commercials are 60 seconds or less.)
  • The first time I tried to cut one of my ramblings down to a minute and a half, it wasn’t easy.
  • I say in the video that I cut 10 minutes of footage out to make it fit. I was exaggerating.
  • It wasn’t more than 8 minutes. Honest.
  • Still, editing out everything except the core points took much longer than I thought it would.
  • Flickr Video ≠ YouTube
  • Flickr Video = Neat little toy
  • You can supposedly embed the videos as easily as the photos.
  • “Supposedly,” because copy/pasting the provided HTML code did nothing but place a blank, black box in this blog entry.

Academic Aesthetic 159: Podcasting Tips and Tricks

I promised to have this uploaded before I crashed for the night – looks like I got to keep my promise.

This is the audio from my presentation at this year’s MICCA conference. Forgive me if I keep things brief as I’m quite wiped by the experience of these past two days.

  • A pdf version of my PowerPoint, including a special bonus slide at the end, is available here.
  • Yes, I really do mention David Warlick that often. It’s only because he does so much to help educators.
  • As I explain in the intro, I was able to use Audacity to remove the background noise but not the slight echo. It annoyed me at first but I got used to it … I think.
  • I may be wrong about the new version of Audacity having LAME built in, but like I say in the podcast I do prefer iTunes for encoding my mp3 files.
  • I also over planned, and had very little time to do practical demonstrations. Perhaps next time I’ll focus on one tool? We’ll see.
  • I’ve said this a lot, but the wiki is still here. Edits are still encouraged.
  • I’m tired. Goodnight.

Academic Aesthetic 157

Help!In this podcast I’m looking for a few good podcasters.

I’ll be presenting a session at MICCA called “Podcasting Tips and Tricks.” As I’ve done before (*cough* Edublogging 101 *cough*), I’ve created a wiki rather than print out a bunch of dead tree copies. I think I have it fleshed out enough for a 45 minute presentation, but it could always use more work – that’s where you come in.

If you’re someone who’s learned something while creating podcasts, or even if you just know of a good resource or how-to guide, why not go over to my wiki and add it in? Even if you do nothing more than add a link to someone else’s wiki on podcasting, it’ll still be a big help.

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Academic Aesthetic 156

I’ve been inspired!

More on the inspiration later, but first two things: Yesterday on a whim (since it has nothing to do with my usual ed/tech/art ramblings) I posted a blog entry that included 20 things about myself … but one of them was a lie.  I invited readers to guess which one is false, and at the time I’m writing this 4 people have made their guesses but no one’s gotten it right, yet.  If you feel like playing along, you can go here.

Next up, I’m cross-posting this on Teachers 2.0 strictly for item three on today’s agenda.  Teachers 2.0 is a much larger community, as evidenced in more than one significant way, and I really want to hear people’s feedback.  You can comment here or there, although to be honest more people might read your response if you post it there.

-=-=-=-=-

Ok, on to the heart of today’s episode.  In the past I’ve expressed mixed feelings about high stakes standardized testing.  I feel that our goal as educators should be to prepare students to be successful in the “real world,” and that teaching to the test (which seems to be an inevitable outcome of this kind of assessment) does not do this – especially if and when the test itself is not assessing skills that will be required in the real world.

People in the U.S. reading this now may immediately think of NCLB, but I was teaching before that legislation passed I recall high stakes assessment  being disproportionately emphasized back then, too.

Now in the past every time I expressed this opinion, I added that while I dislike tests like this I feel I can’t complain too much because it’s difficult to think of another way to compare schools from year to year across a district, county, or nation without some sort of one-size-fits-all non-subjective bar with which we can measure student achievement.

But the other day, I put two and two together.  What’s our goal again?  To prepare students for the real world.  So how should we assess them?  How about by looking at how they perform in the real world, or at least in response to real world situations.

What if, instead of subjecting our students to tests that stress out everyone involved, we created some form of rubric to evaluate how they do after they stop calling themselves students? The rubric could include things like salary, job satisfaction, and any one of a number of variables that we apply to ourselves when we ask ourselves if we think we’ve been successful.

Of course if we adopted this system there would still be some problems.  True assessment would not be able to be measured until they were no longer our students, thus keeping us from correcting discrepancies that a well written standardized test may have caught.  Maybe a combination of the two?  I don’t know.

I’m not saying this is the perfect solution.  I’m not even saying I’ve thought this completely through yet, but it is something I’ve been mulling over, and I’d love to hear your opinion on the whole thing.  What have I overlooked?  Why would or wouldn’t this type of assessment be a good idea?  If it was your job to create the real life rubric, what would be the core variables worth measuring?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Academic Aesthetic 155

Today’s show shares some more links, for your listening enjoyment.

Academic Aesthetic 154

logot20_podcast_300.gifThree in one week! Am I back on the ball again? We’ll see.


Academic Aesthetic 153

?This episode is a call for help! (No, not THAT call for help …)

As I announced on Pownce, this will be my third consecutive year as a presenter at MICCA. In the past I’ve used wikis as my “handouts,” but I’m not sure I should create a new one from scratch if there’s already a definitive one out there that’s ready for use.

So my question to you is this: What are some of the better podcasting wikis out there, and should I use one of those for my presentation or make my own? I’m leaning away from reinventing the wheel, but I won’t mind building one from the ground up if the wikis that exist don’t meet my needs.

Let me know what you think.

Academic Aesthetic 152

They're links!  Get it?Just audio this time. I have a dentist’s appointment tomorrow and I’m afraid that I will be unable to speak at all afterwards, or at least not well since my face may or may not be numb.

Aaaaaaaaaaaanyway, today’s ‘cast shares three links, all taken from this list of del.icio.us links that include the tag “teachers20.” (The tag was created so that the links could show up automatically in the Teachers2.0 Twitter feed, which is a lot more popular than I am. My creation has usurped me! …. oh well. We also have a Ning site, if you’re into that.)

Academic Aesthetic 151: Old New Media

This is my first podcast recorded MOSTLY using Apple’s Photo Booth, a program that can record still pictures or video.  It was never actually intended for podcast creation, as I found out the hard way.  As much as I loved playing with the software, half the clips I recorded had no audio whatsoever.  This phenomenon was totally random, so towards the end I was resorting to recording short bursts and then immediately checking to see how it turned out.

Photo Booth may be a fun toy, but from now on I think I’ll be using other software for my podcasting needs.

Oh, and today’s episode has me rambling on about how people are using Twitter and its clones in lieu of recording podcasts and posting blogs.  I don’t think this is a bad thing, since any message that can be summarized in 140 characters should be presented that way – short, sweet, and to the point.

However not every idea can be made so brief, as evidenced here.

I think Twitter is a good thing because  that means that we can expect blog entries to be reserved for more complex ideas, while posts that show off a new website or tell us what you had to eat can be reserved for another feed entirely.

Academic Aesthetic 150

eyes closedSo, here I am two weeks into the new year and I’ve yet to get started on my new year’s resolution. I thought I was getting ahead of the game by writing up some podcast scripts after Christmas, but now they seem kind of dated and, well, I can’t find them.

Oh, well.

All things considered I have been quite busy. Those who follow my Twitter and Pownce accounts may have noticed I post almost nothing on the weekends – and with the exception of my planning days were I’m constantly in front of my computer to fill out all sorts of paperwork, a lack of postings means I have a lot on my plate.

But enough of that before this turns into an “Oh, I have too much to do, I shouldn’t even be recording this right now!” podcast.

What?

It’s too late for that?

Feh. Moving on, I’m really liking Pownce. For those of you not in the know, Pownce is very much like Twitter in that it’s a micro-blog format. Both are designed to share small messages, links, and so on with others. Pownce goes further in regards to media sharing and organizing your friend lists. You can actually put, say, all of your friends who are art teachers into one group, math teachers in another, science teachers in another, family in another, and so on, and send links and messages only to those groups that would be interested in that subject.

I’m sure my sister, for example, doesn’t really care about the highlights of last week’s faculty meeting. This way, she wouldn’t see it.

Now Twitter’s still in the running. The tools for embedding Twitter into web pages seem more robust than the ones for Pownce, and if you’re a text messaging fanatic Twitter will win hands down.

But for how I use it, I like Pownce a lot more. I loved it when I first got an invite to sign up, and I was reminded of how much I liked it a couple weekends ago when a huge chunk of the edublogosphere tried it out for a day at Steve Dembo’s request.

Alas, the following week most of them were all back on Twitter. A social network can have all the features in the world, but it’s still nothing without a critical mass of members. Twitter has that, and except for an all-too-brief moment, Pownce doesn’t.

There are solutions, of course. Apps and websites that post to multiple networks, services that will pull RSS feeds into Twitter, but I’m not happy with the apps and I’ve already gotten complaints about my Pounce messages being cut short when they’re cross posted to Twitter.

I’m still holding out for more people to make the switch to Pownce, but I know that, just like last time, before long I’m going to end up staying where more of my network is rather than continue talking to an (almost) empty space. Social networks are sticky that way.