Monthly Archives: April 2011

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Flip Camera Celebration

The power of the Flip

by Charles & Hudson

This week I sadly read that on April 12 Cisco, who is the worldwide leader in networking that transforms how people connect, communicate and collaborate, will close down the Flip business. I’ve fallen in love with this elegant low cost video camera that makes HD movies well and can easily (even for dummies like me) be uploaded to websites like Facebook or YouTube.

For weeks I had my group of EAP Humanities 7th graders working on creating documentary style movies about the 1-1 Laptop Program in grade 6 at our Middle School.  This would give them a chance to demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using appropriate technology. (TAIL standard 4)

The idea to do this project came from my experience working with classes that have the 1-1 laptop in grade 6 and with the one and only grade 7 class I teach a few periods each week.

It’s a real advantage if kids have their own laptop versus using the shared laptops from a cart! The accessibility of using laptops as tools for learning isn’t the issue here, but the nuisance of heavily used and therefore run-out-of battery computers by the time we need them is (or was I should say).

 

There isn’t a day that I not have a Flip Camera with me to use for personal VDO making and working with my EAL students. So just on another ordinary day working on laptops with my 7th grade group within less than twenty minutes half of my kids’ laptops ran out of batteries and they all clustered around the laptop cart to plug them in. I took my Flip Camera out and two minutes later the event was documented not even thinking much of what to do with this “proof” that this was an unworkable situation!! Why deprive my students from what the their younger peers in grade 6 have!!!!

Having to deal with that situation on a daily basis gave me an idea for my final COETAIL classroom project for which I wanted to focus on kids as creators and communicators.  There was quite some planning involved and together with them I decided on steps and guidelines for the movie making. For even more needed structure I created a Movie Checklist that helped with the organization. One dilemma was that there weren’t many opportunities to actually do much filming so therefore the 7th graders had my 6th graders and I assigned to do some of the “in class action “ filming with the Flip Cameras during grade 6 Humanities classes. Teams could give us their wish list and I provided the raw material, which they got access to. Also I invited parents of grade 6 students for interviewing. And then there was the research on good documentary style movie making and learning more about the 1-1 laptop initiative.

There were these moments that you just wished you never started this project because there were definitely glitches and there never seem to be enough time or time got wasted. Some teams worked well, especially the groups of three but the pairs kept on arguing about the focus of the movie etc………

After the deadline has passed and our class been observed we have three finished movies out of five and there’s lots more that can be done to improve. I have gained better insights in my students’ learning abilities, English language development, and most of all that learning is in the process of creating the video not the actual product it self.  Today my principal showed one movie from one of my students to the PTA to explain the 1-1 laptop program initiative for next year for grade 7 and 8 in our Middle School. There are a number things that can and should be improved just for this project alone such as teaching kids how to do the credits page and how to use proper language to share information but it is even worse to not involve students in activities using appropriate media and environments so that they can practice to effectively communicate ideas, knowledge, and understanding to audiences ranging from local to global. (TAIL Standard 3)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Letter to Self: Reasons Why I Must Have an iPhone Now!

Dear me,

Even though I’ll be the one ending up paying for it, buying an iPhone seems to be a big thing for me. The voices (don’t worry you know we all have them, the good ones that keep you in line) in my head somehow keep on telling me that I have to prove that I’m worth it. I’m no longer “fine” with what I have had for many years.

 

  1. Size matters! The iPhone nowadays is smaller and smarter looking. It feels and looks like a phone which is the main reasons why I want one. My old, cheep but reliable black and red Nokia is falling apart but still working even after she was accidentally dropped on the concrete floor (by me).  I’ve decided after so much survival ability to keep her as a spare. To me the iPhone is masculine and he could be less reliable when dropped on the floor at times but it’s worth trying him out! After purchasing I plan to secure him in a smart looking wrapper or case and strapped to a leach.
  2. He has a built-in support, which is great for me who loves to walk, jog and sometimes run. He replaces my broken iPods for which I blame the lack of jogging and running lately. Music back again in my ears and now coming out of my phone!!!!
  3. He has GPS so when I travel and go for walks I don’t have to get lost like two summers ago happening to me when I was unable to find my brother’s new house back in a new town trying to get home from an very early morning run.
  4. He’s got email!!! It is a joy to access from a mobile device and read and respond to emails.
  5. His photo apps will always allow me to take snapshots wherever I am without any effort at all compared to carrying another device (camera) to take pictures.
  6. His world clock, alarm, timer just to name a few will keep me organized.
  7. His web browsing ability, using the power of the Google will….empower me!
  8. Playing his endless games to avoid human contact after days of f2f teaching. Mindless games for the iPhone, “BubbleFree.” You know that odd satisfaction of bursting plastic blisters? You can do that forever with this app. Score points for how many you can pop in 45 seconds. It’s addictive, but only for about four minutes at a time, so don’t worry about staying up all night trying to beat your high score.
  9. His YouTube application,…………fun and entertaining!
  10. He makes me feel more officially a mobile digital citizen The true value of the iPhone isn’t being continuously plugged into the Internet, but it will make me feel connected in this digital world.

The time for me has come he’ll be mine soon!!!by Jorge Quinteros

 

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Actions speak Louder Than Words!

When I was skimming through some fellow Bangkok Coetail participants’ blog posts, I came to read about visual literacy and the tracing down of the origin of a famous saying “A picture is worth a thousand words”.  Although interesting to learn that at first it was thought to be a Japanese proverb and then later that it seem to be Chinese, the main issue is how people interact with information.

 

As I know, in order to create an environment for learning, we need to help students develop understanding. One way to do this is use of non-linguistic representation so that students can extend and apply knowledge. Non-linguistic representation is using images, text and sounds.  Tools we use in our classrooms are Keynote, Creative Commons, iMovie and You Tube.

 

Last week we had Kathleen Ferenz visit our school and I learned more about digital story telling and vocabulary development using non-linguistic representation. Kathleen thought us about visual vocabulary cards, cards in iPhoto, from Keynote to iPhoto, academic screensavers and iMovie talking visual vocabulary. Kathleen is very inspiring and I like her perspective about Never Stop Learning.

I praise myself to be very fortuned working at a school that provides opportunities to learn more and to discuss ways in which you can use technology in your classroom to support student learning. Words shouldn’t be totally replaced by pictures but Actions Speak Louder Than Words! We, teachers need to go get out there and interact with the information on hand and help our students learning in this digital world!!!