Friday, November 23, 2007

Webcams and the Internet

I left the classroom 10 years ago to become the district technology director. I left behind several activities that have not been resumed until now. We have recently discovered that we can use the latest webcam software and Internet services to broadcast video to the community. We can basically do this with equipment we already have.

We will be using WebCamMax to create a news style show, complete with picture in picture. You can switch between several cameras, computer video, still pictures, and effects. This software is simply amazing for what it costs.

We can then broadcast live on and embed it in our school website. We also have the local public access TV station and can set our computer to the ustream channel and broadcast out over our local public TV channel, STV.

This is exciting and our students are very excited to be creating news and broadcasting events. We will be sharing the url once we get going. So stay tuned to STV on the net.

Another discovery for me recently was Wirecast. Wirecast creates a streaming media server out of your computer. This allows up to 50 connections to your computer on your network using Windows Media Player or Quick Time. We are going to use this for school announcements. We have tested it and it works great.

Video is back on the move in our district and who knows what future TV personalities we'll pump out.

Great time at NYCATE!

We presented at the NYSCATE Conference this past week. As usual the conference was great. I saw a lot of web 2.0 tools being used. It was kind of validating to see. Sometimes I am very impatient. It just seems like everyone should be using web 2.0 tools in all classes.

Despite all of our efforts in my home school district there are not many people embracing the new ideas. Recently I presented to several of our staff and only 2 people have asked for further help. I guess I should be happy with this. One teacher has signed up for a blogmeister account and will be using it in her 8th grade social studies class. I'll keep you posted with her success.

It seems that the revolution is making gains ever so slowly. Check out and look for our video podcast presentation called "Podcasting, Wikis, and Blogs! Oh My!"

Sunday, November 18, 2007

NYSCATE Presentation

I just woke up and am now getting ready for our presentation at the Annual New York State Computer and Technology for Education Conference. My colleague and I are presenting how we use podcasting, blogs, and wikis in our classrooms as well as with our teachers.

I'll blog more about the conference once we get there. Until then here is our outline:

NYSCATE Podcasts, Wikis, and Blogs! Oh My!

1. Wikicentric Classroom
2. Podcasts
3. Blogs
4. Teacher Resources
SidneyMIT Wiki
5. Other wikis
SidneyPLTW Wiki
Teacher2.0Teacher Blog

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Trailfire - Its HOT!

Somehow I discovered Trailfire this weekend. I even noticed it was a presentation at the K12 Online Conference. I have been using Google Notebook for about a year and a half. I was using it as a bookmark because I could write notes. I am someone who would use My Favorites but forget why I saved a web page. I saw Google Notebook as a great way to save, annotate, and share my favorite websites.

I have created quite a list of websites, tools, and notes. At least I have the notes. This, however, makes it quite frustrating to sift through to find anything. I have resisted creating several notebooks.

So, I have been looking for some way to catalogue my favorites or bookmarks. Along came Trail fire. Trailfire is an online collection of web pages. You can create your own private trails or share them. You can even make trails on the web that can be edited by others. A trail is made by marking websites and saving that mark. All marks saved under the same name make up your trail.

You can go to Trailfire and search for my user name mdionne. Choose mdionne under Match Users. This will take you to my list of trails. I have created 13 trails or categories with 213 marks. I spent most of the weekend transferring my Google Notebook notes, phew. Here is a list of my Trails:

Blogs & Blogging

Everything photos

Publishing Tools
Misc. Web 2.0

Slide Show Creators
Must see videos

Social Networks
Online Conferencing

Online Video

Teacher Article Resources

Hope you find something you like.

I believe there are several ways you can use this with your students. You can set up a trail of sites that will guide them through their search. You can have students work independently searching while they create marks for a collaborative trail. This is called a wiki trail. You can keep archives of class research from class to class.

Trailfire will work for me right now. Until the next best tool comes along. Happy trails to you. If you start humming that tune you are dating yourself!

Let me know if you would like to add to any of my trails. I can make them a wiki trail!

Leave me a comment about Trailfire and my trails if you would, please!

Web 2.0 Workshop ResultsI

I was able to discuss reasons for teachers to adopt a web 2.o pedagogy with our staff. I shared several videos and tools used by so many today. This is a short summary of what I think they walked away with.

Some agreed with me about students and ahow they have changed. Others were compelled to try at least one of these tools. Still another just needed some encouragement.

I even have my first in class project. Our middle school social studies teacher will be using class blogmeister for her next project. I will be guiding her and her students throughout the project. I am looking forward to this project.

It's a beginning. Maybe the start that we need.