We finished up our week yesterday with a good amount of time on our Glogster space as students worked on their posters about Three Cups of Tea (while also practicing their original puppet plays, which we will perform for younger students next week and also videotape).
The two mini-lessons I showed them were how to add a podcast to their poster and how to import videos that are related to the book project. I did have a conversation with one student who wanted to have some media about Monster Trucks and he tried to defend it by saying that he wanted to show the differences between cultures. Nice try, but no dice. (But I told him he could make another personal Glog after the project and that satisfied him).
Now, you can record and embed audio right with the Glog, but in my test in the morning (Note: always test technology before letting the kids in the house!), that didn’t work. I’m not sure if it was the microphones (we have a bunch of fairy cheap mics), or the wireless data flow, or what, but it didn’t work for me. So, I turned to the trusty Microsoft Sound Recorder, which I often forget about but which is an easy way for students to record audio (sound recorder is in XP, under Accessories and then Entertainment). The sound quality is mediocre but workable. Students watched me walk through it and then they were off to the races. (They are recording a short book review)
I also showed how to embed videos, and even gave a list of URL addresses for videos like the Three Cups of Tea song, interviews with Greg Mortenson and others. I reminded them again that just because they can do something doesn’t mean they should — there should be some rationale and there is no reason why a poster should be plastered with videos just to fill the space and just to be cool. I think they got the message.
So, things were moving along during the first three classes, but in the fourth period, just as they were logging in and getting down to work, the entire Internet of our school crashed. I could tell something was wrong as hands began shooting into the air. “Mr. H, this isn’t working,” became a familiar refrain. After realizing what was happening, I quickly shouted out, “OK, everyone move to recording podcasts now,” which is the moment when our principal walks in for a quick visit to see students at work in the classroom.
Ha. Now imagine the scene: hustle and bustle, with one group shouting out puppet play lines behind our puppet theater (they are practicing using loud voices for performances), as other students are scrambling to record podcasts and a few still working on their Three Cups of Tea questions. The noise level is, well, pretty high. For me, it is pretty normal for tech-related projects. There is a lot of activity going on. I know some principals would be wondering just who the heck is in charge here.
I am lucky. My principal doesn’t ask that question. He quickly called the office, and asked that our tech person figure out why the Net was down, and then he wandered around, listening to the students at work on their podcasts. We chatted for a bit, discussing how the video that he showed at our recent staff meeting (I can’t remember the title, but it is the one about children needing to use technology to learn and be ready for the future — they hold up signs, etc, and look depressed) and how it was met with a decidedly mixed reaction by our staff.
Then he left the room, and we kept on working. I just wish the Internet connections had come back on. It never did.
Peace (on the posters),