Sleepless nights….

A friend and colleague tweeted me an infographic yesterday, and I realised it was just the incentive I needed to jot down my thinking on what has been going on so far with my Historical Fiction project. The infographic is called “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teachers Who Use Technology.

To my friend, I flippantly made the comment, based on Point 7, “I’m not sleeping at night, so I must be one of those!” HOWEVER, as I look point by point, I am comforted to think that I see these points in much of what I do.

Thinking about Point 1 most,  I need to say that I have not enjoyed the planning for this project in the same way as I enjoyed learning in Courses 1-4. I think because I had to really scrape to come up with something to use for this project. Maybe that is because at this point in my life I am dealing with so many things happening that distract from study or maybe it is the restriction of the project where it had to be the reworking of an old unit and it was hard to reconcile the project to my classwork which is a contractual requirement and I don’t have the flexibility to make the changes I’d like. I have posted of this before so not going to repeat myself.

I started the Historical Fiction Unit by selecting groups with student input. We had a practice interactive read-aloud and then individual reading and then sharing findings in the book clubs – so they could see how the book club worked. I explained that in previous years students had completed the book club discussions with writing in a reading journal. But this time to try something new we would use a digital method of recording and it would be collaborative so it could be shared with all members of the book club and other interested bodies outside the club. We talked about possibilities. Students enthusiastically discussed in their clubs how they might share their learning.

So from the start, we have a couple of book clubs using Google Presentation, a couple using new collaborative blogs with Blogger, a club using a Google site, and one group using Edmodo. I pottered a little with Edmodo some time ago but am not an expert. One student took on the teaching role for her club and they are certainly more proficient than I. One group started with VoiceThread but gave up and chose a Blog instead.

For the First lesson they had their laptops on the tables. We sat together and I picked out the Historical Fiction teaching point for that lesson (from the planner that I don’t have permission to change). This was that readers look at the illustrations on the book covers to extract information about the historical aspect of this type of fiction. Students got their own books to do this for themselves. What I didn’t bargain for though, was that they did not talk about their discoveries. They went straight to their laptops.

They were all sharing their findings online. I was reminded of seeing older students all sitting silently around a table too busy texting to talk…

This happened with the next lesson too, and it started to bother me. I started thinking that this was NOT a good use of the technology. That the technology instead of enhancing the reading lessons, was having creating a situation where the face-to-face had disappeared. I had to rethink and the third lesson I had them discuss the their own findings of whatever the element of the day was, using the “knee-to-knee, eye-to-eye” strategy before they got the laptops out of the cart. NOW we seem to be having the best of both worlds.

We have not started the Writing Historical Fiction part yet. Our initial thoughts were to publish the stories they will write in iBook Author…. until someone said, “What about the Green Screen….?”

Adaptable? Malleable? Embracing change? Sharing? Absolutely! As much as is possible!

 

Letting Go…

Image by Mr T in DC

We are finishing our current unit on Consequences and Interdependence this week and starting a unit on Perspective and Conflict shortly after. This is the unit I am using for my project, not the conflict unit itself as it was just too hard to do all the collaboration necessary with two grade 5 teams at two campuses. So I have taken the parallel unit on reading Historical Fiction to work on as it will not matter that my class is doing something different to what the others will do.

I took the old Historical Fiction Reading Plan and the slightly more recent Historical Fiction Writing plan and have melded them and re-planned in such a way that my class will be able to use technology to share their thinking with each other, to show their learning and to tell their own stories in formats previously unavailable to them. My PLN has offered constructive comments to improve parts of the plan and helpful suggestions on ways that the unit might develop, depending, of course on student input.

And it is this which has caused me to feel slack this weekend. I planned to work on my unit but have actually done very little. After reflection, I think at this stage, that’s OK. I already have the initial stage of the unit planned but really cannot go beyond this because it really depends on what and how my students decide to learn about Historical Fiction. Next weekend may be busier!

This “letting go” is always nerve-racking for me but exciting as well. It’s that letting go which is so difficult but so rewarding. At this stage, the best I can do is be prepared to help my students remember and consolidate what they have learned throughout this year; the steps of research, identifying questions, locating sources of information, evaluating it and using it effectively. In previous units, we have given websites already checked by teachers, usually in LiveBinders. Because this next unit has so much student choice, we cannot check every site. We don’t know what students will be interested in!  There will be more individual searching on the Internet as well as in our library. First search engine of choice is WebPath Express part of the Follett Library system. But with this little video someone (I forget who) shared How to Look for Info Google and Wikipedia students can have access to more information than before.YouTube Preview Image

As far as presentation of stories, we are fortunate to have a new choice – iBooks Author. As it happens, my students just finished writing stories about endangered animals, some of which they’d added to their blogs and added images to match. And some are using Quicktime to record the story. An added bonus came this week with new macbook airs, with Mavericks already installed, which means we have iBooks Author. I had never used it myself until 11:30 on Friday morning. At 12:30 my class had opened the application and were investigating how to use it with their animal stories. Lots of collaboration going on… Minimum input from me… Result – students doing their own learning and using it productively and excitedly.

Are we finished? No just touched the surface of what is possible, but we are all set to continue!

 

 

 

 

Viewing the Past with a Future lens…

Course 5… Final Project… Revamping… Historical Fiction

Photo by J.A. O’Brien

This has been SO difficult! I hate to think how many hours I have spent trying to work out what is best to do. It seemed after my last post that some reflective thinking has helped.

My difficulty is firstly the reworking of an old unit. There are heaps I could choose, but it needs to be a unit that I will teach while I am doing Course 5 since there must be student feedback/reflections, etc. Since I am in a collaborative team I also cannot just do something completely outside of our curriculum simply to satisfy this course requirements. We are about to start a newly developed unit on Perspective and Conflict; starts with a bit of PSE and moves to historical study.

I have done a lot of thinking alone but have also had some useful conversations with colleagues as well as help from Jason Graham @jsongraham99 in Bandung and Vivian Chow @ChezVivian in Switzerland – the Coetailers I most often exchange ideas with.

Link to planner Historical Fiction

The unit I have chosen to revamp is actually 2 units, a Reading and Writing unit about Historical Fiction. When these were developed, the only digital aspect was the typing of a story so it could be printed to go on the wall or using the library catalog to look for books. Thinking of the SAMR model, I can see that there is the potential for an amount of substitution or augmentation, e.g. note-taking digitally rather than on paper but I think there is a lot of scope for showing modification and also redefinition.

I am interested in also connecting with anyone who may have an interest in this area,  librarians, maybe…

And back to the planning…

 

Bit of a Quandary…

Photo Credit: Russ Allison Loar via Compfight cc

Having looked at the Course 5 requirements and this sentence, “Your final presentation video will be a reflection on the unit that you overhauled, the student learning that happened and student evidence that the unit was implemented,” I am definitely in a bit of a quandary….

I have past units that I could rework but if I choose one of them I will not be able to try it out, since all those past units are no longer being used at my school. I could choose one of those new units which we have already used once this semester and work on it for next year but since I am moving schools, I still won’t be able to try it! Or I could take a unit worked on in the past and re-work it as if I was going to be using it but I am not sure if this is the best use of my time… I could use a unit still unplanned for next semester and work on it but then I am not able to make a comparison with what I was doing before I started . What to do…?

Of all the above options, I am thinking that what will be most useful for me will be to apply what I have learned to one of the new units that my team will be using next semester. At least that way, at least I will be able to reflect on how well my plans work which will help me continue to grow as a teacher.

    • Why do I think this unit is a good possibility for my Course 5 project? It will continue to give me something to reflect on.

    • What are some of my concerns about designing this unit?                        I am not really concerned about the tech integration as we have consistently done this fairly well as we develop units. However, I do feel that sometimes where students are wondering about something, they will go straight to the computer to find out more instead of to the excellent library books which we bring up from our library and have in the classroom for them to use. Not that I want them to only use books. I want my students to really think about what resources are available and choose what’s best.

    • What shifts in pedagogy will this new unit require from you?                    As in our current unit, I will need to continue to release students more to make their own choices. I can see that what I am thinking about as a focus could end up not giving freedom for students, so this will require some careful balancing.

Photo Credit: Paxson Woelber via Compfight cc

  • What skills and/or attitudes will this new unit require from your students?     I  want my students to be  RESOURCEFUL – one of our four Learning Dispositions. To me that means being proficient in choosing the BEST resource for whatever is the task. This is something my students don’t do well and I think will be a good focus for me.

OK… not in a quandary any more! Power of reflection…

The Messier the better, IMHO!

“Happiness is not the absence of problems, it’s the ability to deal with them.”
― Steve MaraboliLife, the Truth, and Being Free

When I started investigating PBL, I found the diagram Project-Based Learning Vs Problem-Based Learning most useful. Looking at the similarities and differences between these PBLs helped me reflect on what aspects of these two learnings I have seen, used, plan to use. The ACS Distance Education website has a definition. It says Problem-Based Learning is defined as, “A learning method based on using problems as a starting point for acquisition and integration of new knowledge.” I think I’d add skills to that as well.

So my new understanding of Problem-Based Learning is that it relies on real life problems, where students act as professionals. Students acquire critical-thinking and problem-solving skills and strategies as they try to find the answer/s to the problem. There may/will be different possible appropriate answers or solutions. The teacher’s role is to facilitate and guide or coach, but not provide the solutions. Students are assessed on how they problem-solved, rather than what answer they came up with. It’s not a neat, tidy process. It’s messy.

Now that I have my head around it, I can see that actually this is not new to anyone with a PYP background or who has an in-depth understanding of UbD. Eight years ago, when I learned about UbD, I started to create GRASPS exercises. Not many of these were real problems, but they were problems.

Most of these exercises had students role playing like the grade 3 unit on Space, (no longer a grade 3 unit) where students had to know the planets in the solar system, and the reasons we have seasons and day and night. I was dismayed when my aide handed me all the worksheets she had copied because she thought I would need them. Easy to learn the planets – write the names on the lines, write a sentence, colour the pictures…. yawn, yawn…

Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 8.47.55 PM

Screenshot of task

I created a make believe problem, a silly story which looked like an authentic newspaper article. Some explorers had found a lost tribe of people living in a cave system. Their ancestors had been cut off by a rock fall. My students were the scientists whose job it was to explain to these people what all the bright lights in the sky were. It is silly, of course, but SO engaging and my students worked so hard to work out what they needed to know, the best ways to explain different things, etc. My EAL support teacher was in the room when I introduced it and remarked that she had goosebumps from the excited buzz that was emanating from my groups as they stared to tackle their problem. And it was / is messy – very messy. I recall for myself, the facilitator, how exhilarating it felt, that first taste of problem-based learning. I didn’t even know then that it had a name.

And today…this is one way that I am using technology to support inquiry in my classroom. This is cut from my other blog post written yesterday. For full post see Looks Aren’t Everything!

The task was to choose an issue they found interesting and choose some wondering to research. And after two days they could share what they found out. I wanted to find out how they would go about this without my guiding step by step.  I said not to worry too much about presenting the information as I wasn’t giving a lot of time and I really wanted to see how they could research…

 But I knew they were so excited they weren’t actually listening….

 With our 1:1 laptop programme in its second year, I wanted to make sure that THIS year, students put better effort into the research part and not worry so much about the presentation part. I had noticed in the last few years that with the increasing use of technology there has been a danger of focusing way too much time on a Prezi/PowerPoint/Keynote/Google presentation/movie, etc. which is AMAZING looking… but doesn’t actually show much learning…. I don’t want that to be the case this year.

 I don’t want to be continually directing the inquiries all year. I feel that students need to be doing this for themselves. But to be able to do this, they need to see for themselves how well they are managing different aspects of the inquiry.

 The tool I decided to use to help this reflection was google forms. I named it Researching. Some questions I asked had paragraph answers. Some had multiple choice and some had checkboxes. This is what was emailed to students.Here there’s a paragraph space for the answer…Paragraph answer…Paragraph answer….

When I looked at the Responses spreadsheet, I could see that my class had clearly thought about the questions and answered honestly.  I hoped that the series of questions would direct the reflection so that the last question would indicate some action or goals.

Last Question: If you were doing this again, what would you do differently? 

  • I would try to research more information and try to find more information that I did not know
  • I would use more websites and/or books.
  • I would like to get more information.
  • Find more websites.
  • I would use some different websites to find my information
  • Do more researching.
  • I would research more.
  • I would have a harder question because the question I picked was a bit easy for me.
  • I would make my question not so wide so that it doesn’t take a lot of time to research about it.
  • I will use key words when I search because it will make the research part faster.
  • I think I would not spend so long on BrainPop because it didn’t give me that much information that I needed.

As we finished with everyone sharing what they had learned, I heard students talking about the process as well as what they had found, saying to each other, “I spent too long on making a presentation” or “I spent ages looking at pictures, and ended up with not much information.”  Did the exercise work? We shall see in a couple of weeks as the inquiry focuses on food chains. The “problem” still has to be created. That’ll be tomorrow’s job…

Predicting the future – not easy!

Will education as we know it change because of technology? Predicting the future is not easy. (And what does it have to do with Mince Pies anyway?)

Lindy’s Delicious Mince Pies

Photo Credit: Lindy Buckley via Compfight cc

I have been pondering this in small snippets all week all week as I have been feverishly trying to get as many report comments written in order to have time to concentrate on my online study at the weekend AND get my Mince Pies started…

Each day when I access my Feedly, or check my twitter feed I see references to this topic, so many references and all pointing me in different directions. Among those that I read were, When Edtech Meets Montessori, Kids Rule Edtech about Acton Academy where the teacher teacher is  a guide and students have autonomy in almost every facet of their learning. They choose how they spend their time and the technology they will use. Then there was another nice post on Life of an Educator by Justin Tarte, where he writes about what he envisions for the future – all good stuff.

This is actually a huge topic! Thank you Brandon Hoover for suggesting some possible angles in your post, “Connectivism and MOOCs: The web we weave.”

I shall look at my own learning with the aid of technology. In this day and age, as Brandon says, “Learning takes place at your own pace and in your preferred schedule.”

I have been learning with the aid of technology for a greater part of my life. I am thinking in the early days of television documentaries which brought the wide world into my living room or cookery programmes where you had to have a paper and pencil handy and if you missed an ingredient or made a mistake, the dish you tried would never look the the one the Galloping Gourmet created on TV. Many of those shows were very engaging and attracted huge audiences, but it wasn’t learning at my own pace or schedule until we got a video recorder. So I could tape a programme, and watch it at my leisure, and rewind as many times as I needed to capture the necessary steps to make the Mince Pies or whatever. But I did not have any choice over what recipes would be offered.

But I could go to the ABC shop and buy VHS videos. That gave a bit more choice. But still, compared with today, it was still pretty minimal.

Now, if I want a recipe for Mince Pies, I can search on Google and within 23 seconds, be offered 16,900,000 recipes for Mince Pies. Can they all be so different?

As far as work is concerned I have been learning from colleagues around the world for a few years, using my connections on twitter. I still get lots of useful learnings that I can use in my classroom. And I share one a day with my colleagues at my school. But just having access to those interesting writings isn’t enough. It is also connecting with the other learners/writers/educators. Learning without making the personal connections is dull. That’s why I like to join in #pypchat every other Thursday. Most of the people I chat with, I have not met in real life, but that’s OK. And it is exciting to go to a conference and make a face to face connection with someone you’ve been tweeting with. Over the years I tend to read particular posts and tweets form people whom I feel speak to me and my job and about things I am particularly interested in.

Photo Credit: Lori Greig via Compfight cc

Will education as we know it change because of technology?  Yes is a simple answer. Has my education changed? Absolutely. Here I am doing Coetail. Coetail is the first online learning that I have paid for…. But again, that personal connection is important. I wish I had more time to read all the fantastic posts that people write. I don’t. Again I gravitate to a small number with whom I feel an affinity.

As Brandon also said, “With the world’s data at their fingertips and the scope of human knowledge carried around in their smartphones and devices, learning how to learn will be an increasingly vital skill.” I totally agree with this. At our school, every grade level starts the year with a Learning to Learn unit for a few weeks and the unit is revisited throughout the year. We constantly talk about how we learn.  It’s the most important thing we can do right now to prepare our children for a future that is so hard to perdict.

But as well as Learning How to Learn, it is also important to be able to Unlearn and Relearn……

Sunny Side Up…

Image by: a natural thing https://static.flickr.com/231/491681720_49f6645775.jpg

I have been familiar with Flipped Classroom for a while but have not had a lot of experience using it as a teaching/learning strategy. Well, that is to say, I have not used technology…

My simple understanding of the Flipped Classroom is that it is used where students would normally be passively listening to a teacher talking/telling/reading/showing during class time. Using Flipped Classroom, that teacher talking/telling/reading/showing is transferred to video or podcast so students can listen/watch at their leisure at home. This means the student can pause the “lesson” or watch bits a few times so by the time everyone gets to class next day, that talking/telling/reading/showing time can be better spent applying or discussing or synthesising what has been learned at home.

When I was at school, in the days where computers were the size of a house, we often had flipped classroom. But it wasn’t watching or listening – it was reading, e.g. read a chapter of a geography or history book in order to discuss the contents and ideas within the next day in class. It’s a similar idea, right?

Actually, I would love to be able to make more use of a technological Flipped Classroom. Every so often, I survey my class to see what the situation is at home regarding computer access and internet speed. I have students who have their own iPads and macbook airs, others who share a computer with parent or sibling and a few who have no access for one reason or another.  So, in order to be fair to all my students, I am not going to set this type of “home learning” because not all my students will be able to take part and some will still need the classroom instruction.

Next year, for my students it will be different because they will take their school laptops home. THEN it makes a lot of sense. If I were a grade 6 teacher I’d be using this a lot!

Image by: Steve Corey
https://static.flickr.com/3754/9603968822_cb0e71a043.jpg

But in order to continue my thinking for this lesson, I have prepared a lesson which will fit nicely with a new unit we are starting next week. The unit is about Consequences and Interdependence. We will be looking at food chains and what happens when they are broken by environmental issues. I have a couple of videos on bees. One is Feeling the Sting and the other is Pollinators Instead of watching them in class, I shall give the links to watch at home – or at break or lunch or before school or during free choice time in class – which will give students who need that option the accessibility. I will want them to be reflecting on the message, so a simple Connect-Extend-Challenge or See-Think-Wonder activity from Project Zero’s Making thinking Visible would be a good to help students think. Then a small group activity in class will give students the opportunity to talk about the ideas and decide how they want to move forward.

What I really like about the idea of the Flipped Classroom is that many of my parents will probably watch with their children so they are already having some discussion before we all do this in class. When I send LiveBinders to students, e.g. Bees , I always send the link to parents also, for those who like to learn with their children. For EAL students this is a big bonus, being able to talk about this learning in mother tongue. This makes the learning so much richer! Definitely a sunny way to learn…

Fun, Fun, Fun…

I note a definition from A social gamification framework for a K-6 learning platform is that gamification “is a new concept intending to use elements from video games in non-game applications.” But the the newness is not the learning through the playing of games. It is the digital aspect of this important way of encouraging learning, particularly using elements of games which a few years ago, we would not look on as being educational.

I must admit that although my screen time is considerable, gaming is one aspect of my digital life that is pretty much non-existent. Not that I am not interested. I suspect that I would easily become addicted to online games if I gave them a go. So I just leave gaming as a low priority. I think, “When I have the time, I might have a look… have a play… get engrossed…”

Image by ShellyS https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2089/2114616014_3cfcc543df.jpg

I have mentioned before that we use Type to Learn 4  for teaching keyboarding skills and I see many of these gamification elements present. Students are engaged by the background story as well as the game structure. The creators describe it thus, “Type to Learn 4 wraps touch-type keyboarding instruction into an intriguing, futuristic world of adventure and information, where students are recruited as agents to help save vital information from being lost forever.”

Who could resist?

There is no procrastination in getting started! Everyone is fully on task the whole time that we are working. We do it every day, but after next week, they’ll have to do the lessons and tests mostly at home. I sent the details home to parents about how to download it from the Internet or install it via a USB drive from school, only to find that several students had already downloaded it at home!

Raising Engagement in e-learning through Gamification gives a list of elements present in gamification, some of which I could have recognised from seeing what students do and talk about in their own time, even though I don’t play games myself.

  • Students choose an avatar when they start.
  • There are levels. I overheard one student say enthusiastically to another at the laptop cart, “I just CAN’T get to the next level! It’s SO hard!” But she cant wait to get back and keep trying.
  • Students get feedback about how they are doing.
  • The programme provides each student with individualised remediation and goals for success.
  • Students have fun.

Of course, just having fun, gamified lessons is not enough. We need to be sure that students are learning, since that is the whole point. Over 4 weeks most of my students feel that they have improved in the accuracy of their typing. That’s good. And now – all I need to see – is the application of those skills….

Digital Learning in Grade 5

Paper and pencil plan, digital presentation. Image: LindyBuckley

My school began 1:1 in 2011 with white macbooks in Grade 6 and Grade 9. In 2012, all of the MS and HS were 1:1 with macbook airs. The white macbooks from Grade 6 came down to Elementary. At my campus we used our allocation to have all Grade 5 students 1:1 (but without allowing the macbooks to go home.)

Feedback for us from MS this August was very positive. Our principal shared, “I have heard comments from MS teachers praising the tech integration ability of this year’s batch of (our) 6s particularly around their ePortfolio and how they think about the work they do and how they demonstrate it.”

This semester we’ll be getting macbook airs to replace the white macbooks which will go to Grade 4. Both our elementary campuses are now1:1 in Grade 5 and Grade 4. Our grade 3s have 1:1 macbooks; the other campus, 1:1 iPads. Our grade 2s will have 1:1 macbooks soon. Kg and Gr 1 share carts of iPads.

Less than 3 years ago, my Grade 5 class’s use of technology was limited to when I could book a cart of Dell notebooks or the computer lab.  That’s a huge change! How has it impacted our students’ learning?

Looking at the SAMR model, I’d say that we passed the Substitution level a few years ago when we just started having access to computers. I think we are beyond Augmentation, too with those extra basic functions like spellchecking, etc. So I think we would be in the Modification to Redefinition areas.

This is how my students are using technology:

    • Communicating with their teachers through email and chat.

      Screenshot: Emergency School Closure Chat with students at home

      Screenshot: Emergency School Closure Chat with students at home

    • Communicating/Collaborating with each other by email and by chat – although this one area is one that requires most work as far as helping students know when it is useful and when it is a distraction that they must manage!
    • Communicating/Creating/Collaborating with teachers via shared Google docs, writing, note-taking,
    • Communicating  with teachers and each other by commenting on shared Google docs
    • Communicating/Creating on their blogs – though the world cannot access – all our blogs are within the school community.
    • Commenting on each others blogs.
    • Creating ePortfolios on Google Sites.
    • Reflecting on what they have learned, giving thoughts, ideas and feedback through Google forms.

      Screenshot: Minecraft Survey

      Screenshot: Minecraft Survey

    • Creating and Reflecting using Photobooth or Quicktime.
    • Creating using digital cameras for still photos and video.
    • Using Creative Commons images and attributing correctly..
    • Creating iMovies.
    • Using Padlets to share ideas with each other.

      Screenshot: Padlet "Sleep and the Brain"

      Screenshot: Padlet “Sleep and the Brain”

    • Uploading videos to DragonTales, our school’s media place
    • Using online learning, e.g. Digital Passport, Type to Learn
    • Using school subscription databases, e.g.  Image Quest, BrainPop, NoodleTools, World Book online, etc.
    • Using our Library catalogs and Destiny Quest and Webpath Express and our new Research Portal
    • Presenting, using Google presentations, Prezi,
    • Learning through Games. As well as Digital Passport, they access IXL math, Everyday Mathematics online games, Minecraft, games related to Units of Inquiry, such as Food Force or Playfair 2012. We collect these on Livebinders for example Poverty and Trade.
    • Personalising their macbooks, ePortfolios, email
    • Twitter – we have a class account though this year’s class have not started using twitter yet. It’s a time thing…. There is SO much learning available!
  • Image: LindyBuckley

This is just what I see in my class. On a school wide viewpoint our Tech. Coordinator sees the bigger picture. She says, “Already, though, evidence (of digital learning) is everywhere — on DragonTales and Google Sites, in the ongoing PD sessions being offered on campuses, and of course in the classrooms and libraries — that our tech resources are being maximized, great content is being shared, and lots of productive exploration and learning are happening.”

It is easy to see that technology plays a major role in our students’ lives. One thing that creates some tension for me…. The recommended screen time according to the American Academy of Paediatrics for my students is 2 hours per day. It’s hard to stick to that. And I read recently in The Los Angeles Times that a USC study predicts by 2015, Digital-media use will average 15.5 hours a day….

Interesting…

Moving Pictures…

We went on our annual trip to Pasir Mukti last week. Three days in the hills outside of Bogor, about sixty minutes from our campus. Between sixty students and eleven adults, we took two thousand photos in two and a half days.

So my plan was to use some of the images to create a movie that can be shown on our big TV screens at our school gates, and can also be uploaded to our school media collection, Dragontales and thereby accessible to parents.

I felt this would be an easy option for me. I have not made many movies – really only little practice videos at the various iMovie and GarageBand workshops. At the same time my students were making Google Presentations about poverty to which they added their own thoughts using Quicktime. but they were very short, five slides long. Read about this whole process here on No Frills… which also includes the updated slide show Using Compfight with google docs. For four to five minutes, it seemed like iMovie would be a better option.

I started with the trip itinerary and a new Google Doc. I made a list of all the activities to put on the video. I decided to keep it simple, Day 1, Day 2, Day 3. I typed the activity titles I wanted, so all I’d need to do was copy and paste later. Next I started going through the photos. All the photos were mixed up. I downloaded some photos from DragonTales and put them in my iPhoto. I sorted them into albums matching the titles on my Google Doc.

I opened the iMovie interface and realised I had forgotten how to get started… Thank goodness there’s always that one student in your grade level that’s a true expert! Thank goodness for Orson! After my five minute refresher, I was ready to get started.

As of now, as I write, I have all the photos done and just need a soundtrack. So close to the holiday and with Multi-Nations happening at school, I know I do not have time to go through Soundzabound or Garageband. With Multi-Nations going on, I realised the music of our Gamelan group would be very suitable for this project. So that will be today’s job – make the recording and add it to my iTunes, and see if I can finish the movie without asking to ‘borrow’ Orson again!

One minute of video takes one hour of time? Yes, easily!

Here’s my product. The soundtrack is rough to say the least. The movie is by no means perfect but that wasn’t the point. The point was going through the process and experiencing all the parts of the task. It was an excellent exercise!

And here it is…YouTube Preview Image