Stand By Me

November 1, 2008 at 10:17 am (video, YouTube)

This YouTube video, and international version of Stand By Me, was shared with me this week.  I was playing it before school started.  Students in my homeroom were attracted by the music so they came over to see what I was up to.  There were so many students crowded around, and I wanted them all to see, so I played it again on the “big screen” with the LCD projector.  Most of them knew the song but never heard of the movie.  I also “screened” it with one of my language arts classes and asked for their reactions to it.  One student articulated how they enjoyed that it was from all over the world.  I asked how this could have been done.  Of course, they knew, identifying that one person probably collected all the video and “spliced and diced” it together.


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Online Video as PD and Other Ideas for Learning

February 3, 2008 at 11:29 am (video)

At his blog 2 Cents Worth, David Warlick pointed me to Be Very Afraid, a conference in London Picadilly showcasing the work of students of all ages. 

There are thirteen videos online in the archives of the second conference where students and their teachers talk about their project work science-fair style – from how to do claymation, parts of speech raps, the Cademy at Notschool, and the Garageband bass player to bringing a Space Station computer back on line after crashing using cell phones.  Students with unique needs are showcasing their school or designing their ideal classroom of the future

In the archives for Be Very Afraid 3, a student uses a palm pilot to keep up with his studies while performing in Mary Poppins.  Students write scripts and create their own video simulations of what it would be like to be in an air raid shelter.  

Students also create a virtual nature gallery of flowers and mini-beasts (bugs) using cell phones that automatically transfer their images to a computer for them.  An example of technology that transfers images and video from cell phone to computer is mojungle.  This YouTube video explains how mojungle works.   This reminded me of an article I read not long ago where bike couriers use GPS and cellphones to record air quality.  The use of cell phones to transmit video represents an example of amateur journalism that I wrote about in a previous post.  Soloman and Schrum (2007) in web 2.0 new tools, new schools calls it “citizen journalism.”   

According to Heppell, the technoloy itself is not frightening.  What’s frightening is how fast young people are adopting it – with or without their schools.  In the concluding or background video to BVA2, Heppell talks about how this technology is indicative of all students the world over.  I wonder about this.  I see it as up and coming but I know very few that are using the technology in the way the students demonstrated in the videos.

It’s exciting to visit the archives of BVA online for many reasons.  It’s a celebration of learning.  From that celebration, students can see what other students are doing and get more ideas of what they want to do.  Students can see how technology, such as cell phones and PDAs, can mesh with their learning at school.  Teachers can borrow or trade ideas for what new things they could try with technology.  Lastly, I feel like I’ve been lucky enough to attend this conference.  I’ve hitched a conference ride!  I’ve had so much fun at this one, I think I will look for another at Hitchhikr.

Web 2.0 (Videos/PPoints) “theme blog links to videos to help with the teaching and learning of web 2.0….”  I watched “The Social Web,” “Introduction to Social Bookmarking” in preparation for next week’s topic, “Launchtube‘s Channel,” “Web 2.0 in the News,” “School 1.0 vs. School 2.0” and “Red/Write Web.”  As mentioned by Valenza in A Modest Manifesto, whether it is Web 2.0 (Videos/PPoints) or videos in TeacherTube, there are many opportunities to “seek professional development that will help you grow even if you cannot get professional development for that growth.”  And many of the PowerPoints are examples of the reforms suggested by Valenza.  

Over the course of my exploration of video online, I kept coming across the video titled Frozen: Grand Central Station.  I finally decided to watch it today when I saw it at adbusters, originally hosted on vimeo, another option for video sharing.  Over 200 people are briefed at Bryant Park in New York City then stand frozen in Grand Central Station for, what others believe to be, an uncomfortably long time.  I would love to ask students what they think about this!

In thinking about video over the course of the week, I remembered someone had sent me Dove Evolution.  It shows the transformation of a model before and after the makeup and hair is done.  This would be a another good one to talk about with students and what’s real and what’s not in fashion and print media. 

Reuters News Video has many of the stories that we see on TV everyday available online including the serious, the humorous and ones that we wouldn’t otherwise see in North America.  This would be a great question for students – why do we see some stories but not others?  I often wish that I could tape stories and bring them in to discuss.  This way they are just a click away. is another video option with its 18 million hours of video.  On the About page it claims to be “the world’s most advanced video search engine.”  I learned about Blinkx at Springfield Township High School Virtual Library’s Streaming Video Resources page.  From it you can access the Moving Image Archives, Electronic Field Trips Webisodes, Research Channel Video Library and many other websites that incorporate video. 

Rhonda pointed me in the direction of Springfield Township’s blog of streamed media, a link off of Valenza’s Springfield Township High School Virtual Library page, which has fabulous examples of student produced video.  At Valenza’s informationfluency wiki, there are links to 10 “reformed” PowerPoint presentations (warning: very large files).  It was there that I found these iCan videos, created by the San Fernando Education Technology Team (SFETT), which I thought were fabulous for so many different reasons.  Flickschool, a blog linked off of SFETT, provides tips and tricks about software as well as information about film literacy such as point of view; wide, medium and closeup shots; and low, high and eye level anglesThis video in particular made me think of the critical mass required for, what Malcolm Gladwell calls, the Tipping Point.  This idea also made me think about young people who are “nonconformists…on the cutting edge of social networking, with online behaviors and skills that indicate leadership among peers” as described in the National School Boards Association Creating & Connecting//Research and Guidelines on Online Social — and Educational — Networking (pdf)

With so many online video options available, the possibilities really are limitless. 

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Embedding YouTube Video in a Blog Post

February 2, 2008 at 6:46 pm (video)

I’ve often wished that I could find the video “I’ve Got My Mind Set On You” by George Harrison (Cloud Nine, 1987).  What I liked about it was the two messges–one from the video and one from the song. 

I did a search for it in Yahoo Video Search and there it was!  After three attempts to embed the video to no avail, I thought I would try one more time and it worked! 

However, then I started thinking about copyright and copyleft and copy this and copy that and realized–I can’t post this!  Even though I’m trying to be humorous, I do realize the seriousness of this issue.  Ian Jukes talks about this in his blog The Committed Sardine where he links to David Pogue’s Blog article The Generational Divide in Copyright Morality.  Pogue describes how shocked he was at how young people don’t have a problem downloading a variety of material that infringes on copyright.   (Incidentally, I found a Pogue presentation at Web 2.0 (Videos/PPoints) which was originally a TED Talk.  Very interesting if you have 22 minutes to spare.)

Then I started looking at some of the YouTube videos.  I found Baz Luhrmann’s “Wear Sunscreen” video, another favorite of mine.  I then searched Edmonton and found swacks of Oilers footage.  I found the opening song for Kalen Porter’s show at the Myer Horowitz that I attended in the fall.  I just went to Michael Buble at Rexal Place so searched that.  The first hit was a link to The Official Michael Buble YouTube Channel.  I guess if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em!  But along with it, you guessed it, a whole bunch of video taken during concerts. 

What do the YouTube officials have to say about copyright?  Well, at the Copyright Infringement Notification page it explains what to do if your copyright has been infringed upon, mainly let YouTube know and they will remove it.  The Copyright section of the Help Center also answers many copyright questions.  Basically, if you’re created it from scratch then you’ve got nothing to worry about. 

So, instead of trying to find something that doesn’t go against copyright, I uploaded a short video of my polar bear watching adventures.  Enjoy!

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YouTube, TeacherTube and Beyond

February 2, 2008 at 12:16 pm (video)

I’ve been finding video online all over the place!  Besides video sharing websites such as YouTube and TeacherTube, it is on informational sites, educational sites such as Dr. Saul’s Biology in Motion Cartoon Mini-Lectures or this collection of Science Animations, Movies and Interactive Tutorials, news and tv show sites, embedded in blogs like Will Richardson’s and represented in freeware and online applications.  There are also sites that offer video for a fee such as Discovery Education’s United Streaming.  There is lots to choose from: cartoons and amimations to the realistic, amateur to professional.   

Before talking more about my online video experiences and how I see them fitting into the classroom, I thought I would provide some context. 

Outside of viewing and discussing video available online in class, such as movie trailors for Golden Compass or Coraline, I wasn’t quite sure what other possibilities there were.  This is mostly due to my limited skill level related to video more than anything.  I have taken video with a digital camera but I’ve never done anything with it.  And before this week, I had never used a webcam myself and had no idea how one would go about splicing, dicing and mixing video and audio together into one online video. 

I turned to web 2.0 new tools, new schools by Gwen Soloman and Lynne Schrum (2007) to find out more.  Chapter 3 is devoted to “new tools.”  The chapter opens like this:

“On October 18, 2006, YouTube featured a music video by ClipBandits, a band with three young men that called itself “The World’s First Web Band” because they formed the group, developed the music, and created the video all online.  In fact, they had never met, didn’t know one another’s real names, and lived in New York, Los Angeles, and Austin.  They were searching for a drummer, by soliciting the audition videos.  In three days, nearly 500,000 people watched the video and almost 1,700 people posted ratings (it got four out of five stars).  This is the world our students live in.  How did we get here?  And just what does this mean for education?”  Good questions! 

Soloman and Schrum explain YouTube was born in February 2005 and taken over by Google in 2006.  People are able to post, comment, tag, watch videos, join communities and subscribe much like Flickr.  Videos can be private or public.

Tools such as Video Furnace make it possible to view any video on any computer without specialized programs.  This is appealing to me as I have often found myself frustrated when trying to watch a video and not having the right plugin to do so.  Firefox, an alternative to Microsoft Internet Explorer, intuitively resolves this by telling you what plugin you need. 

Sites like Jumpcut, Eyespot (I liked their intro music and some of their claymations but not the scantily-clad girls that came after) make it possible to combine clips, add sound, titles and transitions.  Crackle and VideoEgg are tools to make editing easy and free online. 

I found myself being sucked into Crackle, which divides it’s homepage into different channels.  I wanted to be able to add the videos that I was watching to my favorites so I registered for a free account and can categorize the videos I watch into different playlists, like Language Arts videos.  I was sitting on the edge of my seat watching Google Maps.  I think a good question for students watching this is what is this video really trying to say?  At what point has Google Street Maps gone too far?!  I also thought that the female main character in Ma Cherie! was a lot like Monsters Inc.  This video could be used to illustrate how music works to support a story or the effect of the a bird’s eye or worm’s point of view. 

I’m not so sure about VideoEgg, which boasts 200+ sites in its network, 50,000,000+ unique views each month, 400+  ad campaigns and 100+ fortune 500 companies advertising on it, because in its About section it says that it “connect[s] brands to consumers with video and rich media.”  The video ad demos show 42 examples of how they superimpose advertising on video or webpages.  What a way to wreck a video or webpage in my opinion.  Now I know what those annoying things that scramble across my webpage are called and who is responsible for them.  Sounds like a big money making scheme to me, particularly when I see that they are buddying up with Facebook.     

Armed with all this new knowledge, particularly how the splicing and dicing can happen online, I had a better idea of how a science teacher put together this climate change video that Will Richarson embedded in his blog.  What a way to stimulate some discussion!   

What are the implications for education?  Soloman and Schrum identify that “students can create thoughtful and meaningful video clips that look professional and command an audience for their work.  Having the simple tools available makes it easier to create and edit effective presentations.  They can collaborate by uploading individual videos and editing them together in a single movie that uses the best of each clip.  They can use the clips for digital storytelling and insert them into presentations and projects.  If their videos are high enough quality, other students can learn from them.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.  Videos can illustrate concepts and stimulate discussion like The Story of Pi or Mathemagic which is part of the TED: Ideas Worth Spreading.  That’ s only the tip of the iceburg.  The next step is students creating their own original content.  This active particpation makes learning meaningful and memorable. 

Beyond the classroom, The Fischbowl Presentations and others like it, such as Information R/evolution, A Vision of K-12 Students Today or, the one I prefer, A Vision of Students Today (a post-secondary version),  can stimulate discussion among teachers and the wider school community.

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