My Own Ning Networks

I was bookmarking another Ning site the other day when I realized the exponential growth of my own Ning sites. The image “http://polymer.bu.edu/~amaral/Sex_partners/images_klovdahl_small.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Here is where I go :

That’s a lot of Ning-ing, even for me, but it is an interesting journey and the sense of community that I gain from each of these is very strong. There are deep discussions and sharing of ideas and, best of all, a very supportive and inviting environment.

Peace (in networks),

Kevin

Social Networks in Education

Steve Hartegan, of Classroom 2,0, is at it again, compiling resources on how Ning and other social networks are being used in education. Here are some sample links from his new wiki site called Social Networks in Education:

  • Classroom 2.0 – Web 2.0 in the Classroom
  • College 2.0 – Higher Education, Online Education and Web 2.0
  • Coming of Age – The Book on Web 2.0 in the Classroom
  • EduBloggerWorld – International Edubloggers
  • ILTCE – Illinois Technology Conference for Educators – Learning Without Boundaries 2008
  • International Classroom – Social network created for classes around the world. Space where pupils can share, talk about themselves ,show pictures and videos etc,and get to know each other’s culture.
  • International Collaboration – High school and university students worldwide collaborate and learn about each others’ cultures and life styles
  • The Global Education Collaborative – Promoting Global Awareness
  • Learning 2.0 – Creating Collaborative Learning
  • LITE – Leading Innovative Technology use in Education – Glenview School District 34
  • Next Generation Teachers – Improving Teaching and Learning with New Technologies
  • ProjectsByJen – PreK – 6th Grade Teacher Collaboration
  • Online Projects 4 Teachers – Linking Teachers Together
  • School 2.0 – The Changing of Education
  • We Are Teachers IMAGINE Network– Online Knowledge Marketplace
  • WEBTAS (Web Teaching and Academic Support Learning Community)
  • Laptop Learning Community – Preparing Students with 21st Century Skills
  • WorkForce Educators – Distance Learning and Teaching
  • teachustech.ning.com – A network of teachers using technology
  • Nanopaprika.eu – Network of NanoScience
  • Fireside Learning (ning) – “Conversations about learning. Sit by the fireside and share your thoughts.”
  • RBG Worldwide 1 Nation (ning) Afrikan Centered Cultural Development and Education
  • PSUCast PowerSchool users network.
  • SIGTE 2008 Book Discussion; Steering committee currently discussing book choices. Using NING as communication tool.
  • World Englishes Project– Blended Learning Course about World Englishes in collaboration with Waseda University, Japan.
  • Alabama Educator’s Network– For teachers living in Alabama (Please join if you live in AL.)
  • MACUL Space – Michigan Association of Computer Users in Learning. Educators Pre-K to 20.
  • Smallsteps – a class based network set up to support 14yr old design students with a design and make project centred around the topic of waste reduction.
  • Schoolwork Together – Space for teens from Israel and Dutch school to meet and discuss ideas for a common project
  • Gifted Education Ning space for parents and teachers started by Ginger Lewman to discuss gifted issues
  • Fielfindr A portal to connect classrooms to the world: Global citizens can share talents and skills with students.
  • AsiaTeach.ning.com – Teaching and Education in Asia: Communities of Hope – Asian Educators discover and discuss common and unique challenges and experiences in Asian teaching contexts.
  • Comenius Programme Network A network for teachers accross Europe to seek support, share ideas and experiences to help ensure successful Projects

Steve invites people to add their own links to the wiki, so if you are using social networks for education, go ahead and add the resource (I know I have at least one I have to put on the list under Professional Development)

Peace (in networks),
Kevin

Matt’s Video in the Classroom Site

Happy New Year!

Matt Needleman is re-launching his Video in the Classroom website and if you are interested in exploring this world with your students, this site is a good place to begin. Matt has pulled together examples, links and ideas on how to get started. The site is still under construction but it remains a place to visit and learn from.

(disclosure: Matt has profiled me and the work of my students at his site, including this podcast that Matt has put together with three teachers who do claymation in the classroom. The podcast is great and Matt gets at the inside of creating a clay movie with students in the classroom from a variety of viewpoints. I got some nice tips on using tinfoil on the inside of the clay figures to keep them from falling over — we call it the “melting” of the clay.).

Thanks, Matt, for sharing your resources with the rest of us. He is also launching a Blog Carnival and seeks your submissions for blog posts or articles related to video in the classroom.

Also, Matt is going to be this week’s host for the Day in a Sentence feature and more information about that will be coming tomorrow.

Peace (in sharing),
Kevin

My Long Journey into Video Streaming

Just over a year ago, I decided to try to move deeper into the convergence of video and the web (see the Collaborative ABC Project for one aspect of that investigation). When doing class projects with students, I have often burned the videos onto DVD (time-consuming when you have 80 students) and worked to share them via our class websites and weblogs (yes, we have a school website and two different blogs — one for daily homework assignments and one for showcasing work from my writing class). In doing so, I have relied on either YouTube (although almost never) and GoogleVideo (more commonly) or TeacherTube (sporadically). My concern is always the links that bring my students eyeballs to inappropriate places. (With TeacherTube, it is has been a frustration with the buffering time).

So, after filming 24 different puppet shows last week and wanting to share the videos with both students (they never get to see their own shows as they are behind the puppet theater) and their families, I decided that I wanted to find a way to host the videos and stream them myself. This way, I have complete control.

It hasn’t been easy, partly due to my own lack of knowledge about web hosting and video conversion, etc. But I think my perseverance has paid off.

Here is my journey:

First, I took videos of the 24 puppets shows on my digital camcorder, and then used MovieMaker to create small versions with titles. But the files are still huge and really not in any state to embed in websites. One thing you learn quickly about video is how huge the files are going to be if you want any sort of quality.

So, I posted a query to the Classroom 2.0 Ning Community, asking about advice, and some folks were very helpful. It was here that I began to realize that I needed to convert my movie files into a flash or Shockwave format. This makes for better streaming. I experimented with YouConvertIt and it worked but it was slow. So I bought a video conversion program called SoThink video encoder, which is very flexible and allows for converting videos to different kinds of formats. Thus began much experimenting about size of files to be created and formats. I went through a whole process of creating flash movies before I realized that shockwave is better for streaming (I am trying to cut back on the buffering as much as possible).

After converting all of the files to a SWF format (shockwave), I then thought about how to host the files. At Classroom 2.0, some folks suggested using my school server (not an option for me for both space reasons and for access reasons). I tinkered with using my Box.Net account, where I host my podcasts and store important files as a backup, and that worked but it ate up a lot of my alloted space. So I turned to a video hosting site called 4Shared Video and paid for a Silver account that allows you to embed video that you have in your account.

puppet1 (7)

So, after many hours of uploading the videos, I now had to figure out how to embed the files. I used Google Search and came upon a site called (ahem) Free Video Codes that will generate html code for embedding video files being hosted elsewhere. It was very handy and easy to use.

So now I had my videos stored somewhere, and I had the code to embed, and now what? I needed a way to showcase the movies. I tried out a variety of different things. I embedded some of the videos into my school homepage but found the buffering of multiple videos just too much. Someone at Classroom 2.0 suggested using my Wikispaces site, and I did try that but found it wasn’t what I wanted.

Once again, I turned to Google again. If you have a gmail account, you have access to something to Google Page Creator, which allows you to create websites under the Google umbrella. I realized that the site now allows you to set up multiple domains, which is nice since I could not establish a website just for the puppet shows. I then created a title page, with links to an individual page for each movie. So the entire site is now 25 pages.

puppet1 (3)

I know some students and families are going to want a copy of the puppet show videos, and I am in no mood to burn DVDs. So, what I did now was uploaded the video files into my Box.Net account, made a download link, and placed that link below each of the movies on the websites. Now kids and families can watch the movies on the web and download their own versions.

Tomorrow, I will share the actual Puppet Play Website.

I suppose that is enough informationfor now, but I hope it will help others who may be thinking along the same lines as me and want to know a path to showcasing student videos without the use of a hosting source. (Of course, you could just use YouTube or GoogleVid or TeacherTube and make things easier for yourself).

Peace (in puppets),
Kevin

Another Intriguing Video about Today’s World

Michael Wesch and his crew is at it again, with another intriguing video that tries to explain and capture our world — this time through the concept of information and what it all means in the digital age.

One quote: ‘There is no top to the World Wide Web

Certainly worth a visit:

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/-4CV05HyAbM" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

Peace (without material form),

Kevin

Getting Jing-y with It

I am trying out Jing, a screenshot/video site and it seems to be very cool. You download the program, follow the simple rules for screen video or photos, and then the program uploads to its server and you can share from there — either as a link or as embedded code (such as this picture down below)

And how about the video? Edublogs allows you to embed it as a flash file (good) but the size doesn’t seem to be working right. Wow. It’s too big for my blog theme screen. Oh well, here it is and here is the direct link to my video tour of some of my blogs.


[kml_flashembed movie="http://content.screencast.com/media/6f4cb39e-4355-4c2e-9726-f06cd49f6134_34715e9e-9d15-422b-be20-a267ce07ef33_static_0_0_video.swf&width=1007&height=589"" width="500" height="500" wmode="transparent" /]


OK, I also don’t like that there does not seem to be a tool bar for stopping the video once you have it started. I guess the direct link to the video is the best way to go, but I wish it was a nice embed here at the blog, too.Peace (in experiments),
Kevin

Web 2.0 profile

Steve H., whose creation of Classroom 2.0 got me interested in Ning social networking platforms, just published an article about Web 2.0 in education and in an accompanying wiki companion to his article, he features folks who are using different tools in the classroom.

I had responded to Steve’s initial request for folks using tech in the classroom, andI wrote a bit about using a Wiki to create a collaborative dictionary with my sixth graders. So I find myself in good company on Steve’s list of teachers. You can view all of the teacher profiles and projects that Steve is featuring at his own wiki site. There are some great ideas there and inspiring teachers for all of us to follow.

And here is his master list:
BLOGGING:

WIKIS

PODCASTING

SOCIAL NETWORKING

SOCIAL BOOKMARKING

RSS / READERS / AGGREGATORS

ADMINISTRATORS

Peace (with profiles),
Kevin

One Laptop Per Child/XO

David Pogue of the New York Times has posted a very positive review (and nice video, too) of the new XO computer that is part of the One Laptop Per Child effort to create an inexpensive, portable, destruction-resistant computer for children of the developing world. The machines are open-source, so no Windows, which may shock some folks but keeps the price reasonable.

Pogue notes that the programming can become visible to students, too, as ” … one keystroke reveals the underlying code of almost any XO program or any Web page. Students can not only study how their favorite programs have been written, but even experiment by making changes. (If they make a mess of things, they can restore the original.)” I love that idea of showing them code, and allowing them to tinker (but also to return to zero if everything falls apart)

And they are also going to be offering up a buy-one-yourself/give-one-away-to-a-kid sale next month, and when I told my wife that I was toying with the idea, I think her reaction was a mix of “We need more technology in our lives?” and “Sounds like a good way to help children in the world” so we’ll see what happens.

Peace (in the giving),
Kevin

Google Docs (and now presentations)

I use Google Docs all the time for collaboration for workshops and meetings, and for my own writing — I can move from one location to another without having to hang a flashdrive around my neck. In fact, yesterday, in class, as my students were doing some freewriting, I was writing a poem that I put on my Google Docs and then revised it back home.

Now, Google has added a presentation (powerpoint) format to its Google Docs platform and it seems to be pretty cool. A bunch of folks are already trying it out and seeing what is possible and what is not (you can upload PP shows but not Keynote, apparently), but the idea of collaborating on a presentation seems pretty nifty to me. Cool Cat Teacher created this slideshow collaboratively to show some of the ins and outs of the tool.

Meanwhile, I found this video from CommonCraft (those guys again!) on how to use Google Docs. It’s a bit old but still useful.

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/eRqUE6IHTEA" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

Peace (in collaboration),
Kevin