Exploring Podcasting

October 18, 2009 3 comments

PodcastingAnother Web 2.0 Tool

Video may have killed the radio star but podcasts could bring them back. 

There are three forms of podcasting available: audio podcasting, enhanced audio podcasting, and video podcasting also called videocasting.  (Podcasts for educators, schools and colleges)  As we have already talked about video-sharing on this blog, the following discussion will focus primarily on audio podcasting.

My Reflections on the Process of Learning about Podcasting

The convenience of downloading a podcast and taking it with me has made me a big fan of podcasting.  On many planes, trains, and automobiles and on many runs and workouts, podcasts have, for me, been a rich source of entertainment, educational content, and a means of staying current with what is happening back home and in the world.  So going into this week, with my enthusiasm for podcasts, I was looking forward to exploring it more and using it with students.   This enthusiasm continued as I read up on what others were doing with podcasting in their schools and classrooms.  I was impressed with the podcasts on the various school websites Richardson suggested in his book, Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms.  I was also impressed with the website, Just One More Book, created by Mark and Andrea Ross.  Their passion for books and for authors and illustrators comes shining through.  Seeing all this amazing work kindled all kinds of ideas for podcasts on a library web page. 

The whole process of creating a podcast was great.  Garage Band (audio recording and editing software) on our Macbook made it smooth and easy.  A convenient feature in Garage Band is the ability to create and use music that is free of copy right restrictions.  Garage Band is also capable of producing enhanced podcasts.  However, if you don’t have a Mac, there are other sites that offer free-use music as well.  By searching with Google I found many free-use music sites offering a variety of music genres and of varying quality.  Some sites offered this music free and others were selling it.  For non-Mac computers Audacity is a free audio recording and editing software which seems to be very similar to Garage Band and as easy to use. With Audacity one can record, edit, and modify most digital audio and with an additional piece of software compress the file into an MP3 format.  Both pieces of software are free and can be used for any personal, commercial or educational purpose.   I also noticed that there is an Audacity version for Mac OS as well.

Having recorded and edited my podcast I felt like I was home-free.  Videos and photos had been relatively straight forward so I was anticipating the posting of my podcast to be simple also.  The short version is that after hours and hours of searching and reading and trial and error I still had not been able to imbed my podcast on my blog.  If I could have paid a bit to WordPress to upgrade the allotment of memory I could have uploaded my audio file directly to the page.  But as I was unable to do that I needed to upload my podcast to an internet host site.  Finding a free service provider that works was my challenge.  They all seem to cater more to those who want to broadcast their podcasts through an RSS feed and not for a one-time podcaster.  One site that was recommended was Odeo.com.  I signed up only to find that they do not seem to allow one to upload anything.  They simply help people “find, play and enjoy” their catalogue of video and audio casts.  I tried a few others such as Pidango and Podpress, without success and then found Internet Archive.  I again signed up and this time was able to upload my podcast.  I was then provided with html code to imbed in my blog and, although I couldn’t get the fancy player buttons I did have a link that could take me to my podcast. (I did find some WordPress code that gave me some play and pause buttons in my blog but I could not link it with my podcast.)  Feeling pleased I closed Internet Archive only to find that by doing so the link was broken.  Try as I might I could not get it to work the way it was advertised.  I persevered, and eventually found a way to pay for more storage space in WordPress, and presto, my podcast uploaded with a few clicks of my mouse.  A few good information resources for creating and uploading a podcast were the How To Podcast Tutorial, and a site sent to me by Annabelle Pendry which can be found here on Slideshare.  With my test completed successfully it was time to repeat the process with a student podcast.  The grade two class just happened to be planning an interview with some long time residents of our community.  I approached the teacher with the suggestion that I record the interview and create a podcast.  She agreed and was excited about the possibility of emailing the result to the parents.  The following is the result.

Podcasting as a Tool for my Own Personal Learning

I am a big fan of the CBC.  Giving up listening to all my favorite programs was something that I knew I would miss while being away.  I was thrilled then, to find out that I could subscribe to any program I wanted through iTunes and listen to them on my iPod.  By subscribing, new episodes of the programs I chose are automatically downloaded to my computer, ready for me to transfer onto my iPod.  Now as I run or work out in the gym I can stay connected to all my favorites.  In addition to all the great programs on CBC I have also found a large variety of podcasts through iTunes and other sources.  I was able to download a Luminary Lecture series from the University of California on issues in librarianship.  One of my colleagues learned that he would be teaching a history class so downloaded a variety of university lectures on ancient civilizations.  In addition my wife has downloaded Learning Spanish podcasts.  The number and variety of podcast available seems endless.  Slightly less portable but more interactive is enhanced podcasting.  In this form podcasts combine audio with some image elements as well as links which a listener could connect to, adding another dimension to what is being presented.  Enhanced podcasts can also be set up in sections or chapters allowing the listener to easily browse forward and back in a long cast.  I particularly like the podcast format because it is so portable.  Whether exercising or traveling, taking a small device loaded with great bits and bytes is very convenient.

As a kid growing up in Bolivia I can clearly remember sending and receiving tape-recordings from our extended family members back in Canada.  Telephone service within the country was sketchy at best, let alone international calls.  Once in a while, when all the variables in the stratosphere were aligned we could connect live with Canada via a chain of ham-radio operators.  Even mail was consistently slow and unreliable.  So when a tape recording arrived (at first it was a reel-to-reel tape and then hi-tech cassette tapes) it was a big deal.  How things have changed!  Jet travel, Skype, Vonage, email, Facebook, blogs, photo-sharing, video-sharing, and video and audio casting have all revolutionized our ability to reach out and touch someone.  Who knows, with podcasting in my tool box, I may even share something of myself with others at some point.  But for now most of what I will be sharing will be in my professional life.

Podcasting as a Tool for Teaching and Learning

Imagine visiting a library web site and being able to listen to a podcast of students reviewing books or having a book talk. Or imagine, perhaps, listening to young authors reading their latest stories or reading an installment of a serial story podcast enhanced with illustrations by the author.  A library sponsored poetry week could feature podcasts of poetry readings in a classroom or a school-wide poetry slam.  School Daily Bulletins could be podcast as news programs with theme music and student news and sports anchors, featuring reports from student reporters in the field.  Class blogs could include podcasts of career interviews or interviews of authors or other notable people.  A history class might podcast a “Today in History” spot, either in the daily bulletin or as a part of a class blog.   Language teachers could also find and download existing learning language podcasts or they could record and post their own lessons or readings as a tool to help students with language practice.  In his book, Richardson gives many other examples of how podcasts could be used in school.  Inexpensive radio broadcasts, principal’s messages, history reenactments, narrated science lab procedures, and music recitals, are all great examples that he gives. (Richardson, 2009)  I think podcasting is one of those tools where the more you use it the more creative its use becomes. 

Audio recording in schools is not a new phenomenon.  Language teachers have been recording language lessons for many years and music teachers have been recording practice tapes to help their students learn their parts in a musical number.  It also tends to been standard practice to do audio, and more commonly these days, video recordings of special events.  However, an ordinary recording becomes a podcast (or video cast) when it is published; shared with a larger audience and easily accessible by the audience when it is convenient for them.  In my experience, most of the recordings made in classrooms or at special school events are only used once or twice for a limited audience and then rarely seen again.  With the internet to publish to, we now have the ability to share, with a larger audience, our school and classroom events through podcasts or video casts.  Grade 2 can be drawn into what is taking place in grade 5 or grade 8 can see what is happening in kindergarten.  Parents can also be more connected with what is taking place inside their child’s school.  What a great way to build community within a school and be involved in each other’s learning.

Podcasting and videocasting can also be a valuable tool in professional development.  As mentioned earlier, lectures, refresher courses, discussions and a myriad of other professional development material could be downloaded by teachers who could then listen or view them at their leisure.  Women of Web 2.0 is a great example of material available to educational professionals that is relevant, inexpensive, and convenient. Other good examples of what is available to teachers include, Podcasts for educators, Schools and Colleges, Apple Learning Interchange,  and David Warlick’s Connect Learning site.

The big advantage of audio podcasting is its ease of use.  All that is needed is a means of recording digital audio, a computer with software to edit it, and an internet space to share it through.  In addition to being easier and faster to produce than video the size of an audio file also makes it easier and faster to download and share. When working with students time and ease of use are important considerations.  I have often chosen not to use technology for a lesson simply because the process of using the tool would overshadow the educational goal.   Another advantage is that it has few of the privacy and security downsides of video.  Without pictures, students can be considerably more anonymous than with video.

As with all educational tools it is important to have a learning purpose behind using podcasting in schools.  Playing with these tools can easily become an end in itself, just a gimmick to have fun with, rather than a tool used to help meet a learning goal.  Often teachers find a fun activity and then “work it into” a lesson rather than having a learning outcome and finding an activity to foster that.  Nevertheless its ease of use and its unlimited applications make podcasting a valuable tool to enhance learning. 

A quote from the Podango site reads, “Now that the written blog is slowly inching out of fashion, there are tons of podcasting services that offer you the chance at profiting off of your podcasts, and Podango is just one of them.”  (Killer Startups)  Whether you agree or not that written blogs are going out of fashion, there are still many reasons to get into the swing of podcasting.


How to embed a podcast into a Blogger. (n.d.). Slideshare [PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved from http://www.slideshare.net/‌Paty.Savage/‌how-to-embed-a-podcast-into-a-blogger

Richardson, W. (2009). Podcasting. In Blogs, wikis, podcasts, and other powerful web tools for classrooms (2nd ed., pp. 109-119). Thousand Oaks, California: Corwin Press.

Van Orden, J. (n.d.). How to podcast. Retrieved from http://www.how-to-podcast-tutorial.com/

What is educational podcasting? (n.d.). Podcasts for educators, schools and colleges. Retrieved from http://recap.ltd.uk/‌podcasting/‌info/‌podcasting.html

Why it might be a killer. (n.d.). Killer startups. Retrieved from http://www.killerstartups.com/‌Blogging-Widgets/‌podango-com-hosting-for-podcasters-with-revshare

Categories: Uncategorized

Exploring Social Bookmarking

October 7, 2009 3 comments

Exploring Social Bookmarking

Another Web 2.0 Tool

My Reflections on the Process of Learning about Social Bookmarking 

Before starting this assignment I had no idea that Social Bookmarking existed.  For the most part I have been happy to use the Favorites tool on web browser.  I have had others tell me about a great site and if I liked it enough I have bookmarked it on my computer.  I’ve even watched students while researching, jump up from their computer and rush over to a neighbor who had discovered a great site.  They then write down the URL and, more often than not, type it in wrong and have to try again.  So in all this time the thought that this whole process was cumbersome and that there must be a better way didn’t even cross my mind.  I really am a Web 1.5 (not quite Commodore 64) person.  So my learning has had to start at zero.  I began by reading opinions and reviews of the various online social bookmarking tools and settled on using Delicious because that seemed to be the most popular if not the most powerful.  To start with I felt like I needed a basic level without all the features.  Signing up for an account was very straight forward as was importing my computer based bookmarks.  After importing them I decided to take the time to go back and tag them as it seems that much of the benefit of the tool is in the various tags one applies to it.  As a beginner I almost felt that this tagging process was too easy.  With no clear guidelines it seems that some of the benefit of tagging might be lost.  As I have read more I realize that this is the case.  However, with more experience, I am sure one would be able to refine the tagging protocol (particularly among a group) to gain benefit from it.  After the tagging process I then spent time searching sites using tags and the search tool.  I also tried to set up Delicious on my work computer.  Although I was blocked from installing the Delicious buttons on my Explorer Brower I was still able to use my Delicious account through the web.  I even managed to export my browser favorites and then import them into Delicious. 

Social Bookmarking As a Tool for my Own Personal Learning

As I’ve been learning how social bookmarking works I have decided that I would like to tag everything in my life.  All those things that I spend so much time looking for and organizing could just be tagged and all would pop up with one click.  Think of the benefits!  We spend your lives tagging things and sharing things so that when we get old we can find thing easily or borrow from others.  Until I can figure out how to organize and store stuff and not just information I will just have to try to organize my on-line life.

I have never had huge numbers of favorites bookmarked on either my home or work computer.  A site would have to be very good with the potential of being used often in order for me to bookmark it.  I organized sites in file folders and it was not a big problem.  Nevertheless I do see the benefits of using a bookmarking service for organizational purposes.  As I try to organize all the information that has been coming to me in this course and as I try to reach out and further research I can see that social bookmarking could be a great tool to use and become proficient at.  As I have just begun working on my masters I can start building up my store of professional learning sites right at the outset.  As we do a fair amount of travelling, either to other countries or back home to visit, it would certainly be advantageous to access all our favorites from anywhere and from any computer.  Previously on our travels we have been using our hotmail accounts to store important sites such as airline, hotel, or travel information sites into emails and send them to our accounts so that we can access this information from any computer.  Beyond being an organizational tool I can see other personal advantages to social bookmarking.  It seems to me that Social Bookmarking can be used as a search engine only it is more selective in its results.  The results that do come up have been evaluated and rated by people and not by a computer running an algorithm.  To refer back to the traveling example we could research a country and tap into other sites that travelers have found helpful.  Using a social bookmarking tool could be a great advantage in sifting through the mass of information to find those valuable sites. 

So far I have only had two frustrations with social bookmarking.  The first is that in order to use it at school, and to use it fully at home, I have had to log into the online site.  This is not a big deal but it is another username and password and yet another favorite on my browse.  For this reason I will still keep those favorites up to date.  My second issue with it has been finding a specific favorite amongst the 50 or so I have.  Nevertheless, I am using the tags and as I get more adept things will be fine.

Social Bookmarking As a Tool for Teaching and Learning

In our discussion group, Katherine asked the question’ “How do you teach organization to students in a Web 2.0 world? Is it important anymore? What is more important process or product?”  As a group we focused more on the process vs. product question and did not get around to discussing the first two questions.  As I read through the Trail Fire for the week I came across this quote from Will Richardson.

“Today, information literacy implies an ability to organize the world around us, and that encompasses the big ol’ Web. While traditional library methods have effectively tamed print resources, the digital content residing on more than one billion Web pages is a different beast altogether.” (Richardson, 2007)

Teaching students the skills necessary to be organized themselves and to organize information has always been an important part of a teacher or librarian’s job and is all the more so now.   Organizing information has certainly been one of the challenges for all of us in our discussion groups so it is little wonder that it is a challenge for students.  Social bookmarking, our tool for the week, can be one of answers to this problem.

The first benefit of social bookmarking for students is that it allows them to bookmark important sites that they can access from any computer.  Most students that we have do not have their own computer so they rely on the family computer or one of the school computers in any of the labs or the library (McGraw Hill).  Having the ability to have their own personal bookmarks that they can build and access could motivate them to start creating their own list of favorites.  This will no doubt be comprised mostly of their own personal favorites but undoubtedly sites that they need for school assignments will slowly creep in.  A second and very important benefit of social bookmarking for students is the ability to tag and then share their bookmarks with other students in the class.  Often, when doing research with students in the computer lab, the place is alive with student’s running back and forth from their computer to their friend’s computer as they show each other sites that they have found.  Often a good amount of time is wasted as they try to read out the URL address while the other student types it into their browser.  With social bookmarking a student could simply save it as a favorite, tag it in a specified way and that site become available to all the students in the class.  Teachers could also find and tag sites and share them with students.  Collaboratively then, a class can build a collection of great resources that every student in the class can access at anytime and anywhere. 

In addition to helping teachers and librarians organize their personal and professional favorite sites, social bookmarking could be a collaborative tool among professionals.  Last year, as the only 5th grade teacher in our school it fell to me to find any additional materials beyond the curriculum manuals we have to enhance my lessons.  Another school in our district has 6 divisions of grade 5.  Their group naturally collaborated together for their program where as I did not have the same opportunity.  They were always happy to share but it was not a natural thing to do.  Social bookmarking could be one natural way that all the grade 5 teachers could work collaboratively together in the area of gathering valuable on-line resources.  Professional development could also be enhanced in a similar way through social bookmarking. (Richardson, 2009)  As mentioned earlier the tagging process would be a key element to work out within a collaborative group so that maximum benefit can be derived.

Another tool that is similar to social bookmarking in its use of tags is a tool called LibraryThing.  Although Will Richardson referenced this tool in his article on social bookmarking (Richardson, 2007),  LibraryThing seems to be more of a social book club or large reading group that gets sorted out by the books one chooses.  I have only begun to play with it but it seems like a great way to get connected to books through the descriptions and recommendations of others based on other books you have read in common.  Though it is not a bookmarking site it could be another great way to sift through all the book choices out there and narrow it down to something of value to you.

From what I have seen so far social bookmarking has the potential to solve some of life’s inconveniences and open some new power to uncovering great websites.  This could be of great benefit to both teachers and students.  However to fully explore and evaluate this tool and all its potential will take more time and more play.



Anderson, L. S., & Hildenbrand, E. (2009, September/‌October). Can facebook replace face-to-face? Learning and Leading With Technology, 37(2), 8-9.

Richardson, W. (2007, March 1). Taming the beast: social bookmarking. In School Library Journal. Retrieved from http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/‌article/‌CA6420397.html

Richardson, W. (2009). Social bookmarking services. In Blogs, wikis, podcasts and other powerful web tools for classrooms (2nd ed., pp. 88-98). Thousand Oaks, California: Corwin Press.

Roeder, L. (2009, September 28). 5 social media lessons I learned from working with a Hollywood actress [Electronic mailing list message]. Retrieved from Coppyblogger: http://creatingfame.com/‌video/

Social bookmarking. (n.d.). Teaching today [How-to article]. Retrieved from McGraw Hill Education website: http://teachingtoday.glencoe.com/‌howtoarticles/‌social-bookmarking

Categories: Uncategorized

Exploring Video-Sharing

September 28, 2009 4 comments

Exploring Video-Sharing

Another Web 2.0 Tool

The headline to a BBC news article by Maggie Shiels reads “By 2015 more than 12 billion devices will be capable of connecting to 500 billion hours of TV and video content, says chip giant Intel.”  Justin Rattner, Intel’s chief technology officer is further quoted as saying, “People are going to feel connected to the screen in ways they haven’t in the past.”  … “We are seeing an amazing move of video to IP networks.  By 2013 90% of all IP traffic will be video; 60% of all video will be consumed by consumers over IP networks.”  (Shiels, 2009)  I found these statistics fascinating and particularly so as we explore the place of video-sharing in schools.  We have read about how Web 2.0 is affecting literacy.   How, then, will this move to video dominating our day to day affect literacy and how, do we as educators, adjust to meet these changes?

My Reflections on the Process of Learning About Video-Sharing

I have certainly watched YouTube videos but, until now, have never posted my own.  My first posting, The Three Survivors, is an animated video that a group of grade 5 students wrote and produced with minimal help from me.  Creating video projects with students and for school events is something I have done frequently.  However I have only shared them within the school community as special class-room screenings where parents or other students were invited.  In the case of videos made for a school events such as a Welcome back assembly, Christmas program, or a Remembrance Day ceremony, these too were only shown during the event.  The thought of posting student video projects on YouTube had, up until now, never crossed my mind.  As I prepared for this Web 2.0 assignment there were a few things I needed to keep in mind.  My first consideration was to choose a project for which I had permission from the students to share.  The second consideration was to choose a project that did not compromise my students’ safety.  To do that I felt that I would rather not show the students’ faces nor give their full names.  This eliminated a number of projects that I have done where students perform parts or read stories.  I also did not want to reveal in any way where the school was.   In the original The Three Survivors video there was a picture of the students and a reference to the school, both of which I edited out in preparation to post.  The final consideration was to use a video that did not use commercially produced music.  Students love adding their favorite music as part of their sound track.  Videos made for special events tend to be of action in slideshow/video montage format with little or no dialogue and usually with a music soundtrack.  For a one-time live event I have not worried about copyright (perhaps I should have) but it would certainly be a concern were I to post it on YouTube.  Once I had the video edited the way I wanted it, uploading it to YouTube was very straightforward. 

Beyond the technical aspects of producing and uploading videos to YouTube or using shared video to enhance a lesson, my learning this week has helped me appreciate the larger potential of video-sharing.  My readings have pushed me to consider ways that I could more fully use video-sharing with students not just as an information delivery system but as a tool to foster and develop skill in students to meet the reality that Intel is predicting.  I will more fully detail my learning under the section below titled Video-Sharing As a Tool for Teaching and Learning.

Video-Sharing As a Tool for my Own Personal Learning

Much like photo-sharing, the potential personal benefits of using video-sharing tools is great for those living apart from family and friends.  If one had a video camera and tended to video-document children, grandchildren, or events and trips these could then be shared with those back home or even new friends met in travel.  Similar to a blog or a photo-sharing site, viewers would be able to comment on what they see.   At present, my wife and I share only photos with our friends and family, first through our blogs and now through photobucket.  If we owned a video camera we could up-load and share video with family and friends or they could share their events with us.   As I posted my video to YouTube one of the features they offered was to tag the video geographically known as geotaggeing.  The video tag can be linked with Google Earth and a person’s world travels can be located geographically adding an additional dimension to the sharing.

Another way I recently used video-sharing was in preparation for a Habitat For Humanity project my wife and I were going on to India.  Searching YouTube we were able to find videos of similar projects people had been on and from them we were able to get a feel for what to expect.

A third way I have benefited from a form of video-sharing has been through screencasts that our district technology coordinator has made. When a new program of a new feature in a program has been implemented Ben made and sent out instructional videos to train teachers and staff on how to use them.  I have found them to be very helpful and by keeping them I can refer back to them when needed.

A final way I have used video-sharing, particularly YouTube and United Streaming, has been to help me plan units and lessons.  At times I have used them to gather valuable background information to add to my knowledge and at other time I have downloaded a relevant video to show to students.  I have even called up a video on the spot to enhance a lesson.  One example of this was during a math lesson.  One of the problems involved students estimating the next eruption of Old Faithful, the famous geyser in Yellowstone National Park.  As I looked at rows of blank faces I felt I needed a bit of help.  Few of my students have been to the United States and none of them knew of Old Faithful.  I was able to very quickly call up a time-lapse video of the geyser erupting.  It provided students with a frame of reference and gave them confidence and motivation to solve the problem.

Video-Sharing As a Tool for Teaching and Learning

The most common way I have seen video-sharing used in the classroom is as a tool for teachers giving a lesson.  Information videos are still a powerful way to enhance a lesson and a unit.  When I was in the classroom the video-sharing tool I used most often was United Streaming.  This is a Discovery Learning service, which, for a fee, provides educators access to a vast database of educational video material.  It is like having direct online access to a large district resource center.  A teacher can search and download videos on almost any topic and for any grade level.  I began using this service about 4 years ago when I and a few other teachers got free trial subscriptions.  It was so useful that we recommended that our school get a subscription.  The school district I am currently in also has a subscription to the service.  Another teaching tool that I hope I can include as a form of video-sharing is called video chat.  Using Google Mail or Skype Video participants are able to have an active and interactive video conference but with wireless connections the “chat” can be active and on the go.  With a webcam, a wireless laptop, and a connection to the internet a world of places and people opens up for a class to explore.  In his article You Are There, Eric Langhorst describes several virtual fieldtrips he took his students on, all from the inexpensive comfort of the classroom. (p.46-48)

Another way video-sharing can be used with students is as a research source.  Surprisingly, our district has not blocked access to YouTube so I have allowed students to use YouTube videos as one of several sources from which to gather facts.  Other sources such as TeacherTube and Educational Video Library (The buzz, p.14) provide access to approved YouTube videos to which schools are more likely to allow access.  Now that I am in the library and teaching primarily research skills I will also be able to use some of the resources on United Streaming.   Another way I hope to implement shared video as a teaching tool in the library is through screencasts.  I would like to create screencasts demonstrating the use of various research tools available on the computers.  Some possible themes could be, how to access various search engines we have available, how to narrow a search when using a search engine, how to use noodletools and many others. 

So far I have looked at how video-sharing can be useful to teachers in a classroom.  These are all good as an additional research source or as alternative to borrowing videos from the district resources centre or demonstrating a process live but they are used more as a way to provide information to students. Through the book Web2.0 For Schools, (Davies and Merchant, 2009) I have come to recognize that video-sharing can be used as a tool to promote learning and not simply as an information delivery system.  Schools and teachers can help foster three important benefits by using video-sharing with students.  The first is to use the process of viewing and producing videos to build a positive and collaborative learning community and in so doing foster a sense of belonging for students.  It has been made very clear just how important community and collaboration are to this generation and it is evident that video-sharing helps to foster this.(p.59)   A second benefit of having students involved with video-sharing was illustrated by Perklet videos (p.65).  Davies and Merchant observed the positive change in the children as they grew more confident in their abilities and as they received feedback on their videos.  I have observed similar development during public speaking events and feel that producing videos could also benefit our students in this way. The third important benefit of video-sharing is the skills set that can be developed in students. (p.68)  There are the obvious technical skills of searching for, watching, producing, editing, and uploading video.  But there are also less obvious skills that can be developed.  New literacy skills will be learned as students interact with the videos and gather meaning from them.  There is also the need to teach the very important skill of reading and consuming shared videos from a careful and critical perspective.  And finally there is the need for schools to teach elements of safety on the internet, be it using text, photo, or video. (p.67)

So now that I more fully recognize the potential of video-sharing I must ask myself how I plan to use this tool in my practice.  There are a number of ways that I could incorporate video-sharing in the library. 

1. Allow students to use shared video as a source for facts on a research project.

2. Have students create information videos as a way to present a topic they have researched.  These videos could then be posted and shared with a wide audience.  This could act as a great motivator to research, and could serve as a tool for collaborative work.

3. Encourage students to incorporate shared videos into a research presentation to illustrate a fact or point.

4. Have students write stories and present them in various ways through video such as: readers theater, animation, dramatization, storytelling.

5. Ask students to prepare and create screencasts about a computer skill they want to teach.

6. Incorporate lessons skills and ideas for the safe use of the internet.

7. Encourage students to watch, learn from, and comment on videos that are shared with them.

8.  Develop students’ ability to think critically about what they see and read on the internet.

9. Produce screencasts to provide instruction on various computer-based research tools.

10.  Share the potential of this tool with my staff and then encourage and support them in its use.

For all the great benefits to video-sharing there are two main areas of caution.  The first is ensuring the safety of students.  In situations where students are accessing videos on line it is important to first ensure that parents have given consent for students to participate in the project.  Second it is important that students be taught to use their critical thinking skills when they encounter unacceptable content.  Safety is also a concern when students are creating and sharing their own work.  Davies and Merchant lay out some good basic precautions that can be taken when a video is being made and shared by students. 1. Do not use students surnames nor distinctive first names.  2. Edit out any landmarks or other references to location that could be used to track and locate the students. 3. Have only people that have agreed to be in the shared video visible in it. (p.67)

The second area of caution in video-sharing is copyright infringements.  I have noticed that music and clips of films or TV programs are often used in a video posted on YouTube.  Although YouTube does some monitoring of the content that is posted onto their site they are not legally liable for any copyright infringement that may take place but rather it is the person or persons who posted the video who could be sued. (Dodge, 2006)  Beyond the liability issue, however, we must consider the ethical lessons being taught to students.  As with print material students need to be made aware of copyright issues with Web 2.0 tools and we as, teachers, should be practicing and encouraging ethical behavior.

The common threads of community, collaboration, conversation, and an easy interchange of ideas have continued to be front and center with this Web 2.0 tool, video-sharing.  In my research I have found projects where video-sharing is used in ways that incorporate these important elements.  Video-sharing has provided another dimension to the research work students will be doing with me as a teacher-librarian and it has given me something new to offer when collaborating with my teachers.  Video-sharing will also be a great way to motivate and inspire students and teachers to collaborate and share ideas. 

 “We are seeing an amazing move of video to IP networks.  By 2013 90% of all IP traffic will be video; 60% of all video will be consumed by consumers over IP networks.”

It was this statement from Justin Rattner that initiated my investigations.  If this prediction by Intel is indeed correct, then it is incumbent upon us as teachers to prepare ourselves and our students for this amazing shift.



The buzz Access YouTube at school. (2009, August). School Library Journal, 55(08), 14.

Davies, J., & Merchant, G. (2009). Youtube as a verb …itube? Wetube? Theytube?… In Web 2.0 for schools (pp. 54-68). New York: Peter Lang.

Dodge, D. (2006, April 5). The legal issues around YouTube [Web log message]. Retrieved from Don Dodge on the next big thing: http://dondodge.typepad.com/‌the_next_big_thing/‌2006/‌04/‌the_legal_issue.html

Langhorst, E. (2009, June). You are there No budget for travel? Try video chat. School Library Journal, 55(06), 46-48.

Richardson, W. (2009). Screencasting. In Blogs, wikis, podcasts and other powerful web tools for classrooms (2nd ed., pp. 122-124). Thousand Oaks, California: Corwin Press.

Shiels, M. (2009, September 25). Future is tv-shaped, says Intel [Newsgroup message]. Retrieved from http://newsvote.bbc.co.uk/‌mpapps/‌pagetools/‌print/‌news.bbc.co.uk/‌2/‌hi/‌technology/‌827200

Categories: Uncategorized

Exploring Photo-Sharing

September 16, 2009 2 comments

My Reflections on the Process of Learning About Photo-Sharing

As I went through the process of setting up my various accounts, blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Google Reader, I could readily perceive their usefulness to me both personally and professionally.  With just a bit of playing and adjusting at the beginning I began getting ideas on how to use them.  My experience, so far, with Photo-Sharing has not been as straight forward.  In my readings I discovered that Photo-Sharing was a great way of storing and backing up personal digital pictures, useful for organizing those pictures, and a great way of sharing those pictures with others.  I also read about ways that teachers are using Photo-Sharing in their classrooms.  To put all this information into practice I first tried to sign up for Flickr, the service that was most talked about.  I found, however, that you first needed a Yahoo account.  As I have so many accounts and so many passwords to keep track of I decided to try Photobucket first.  Although signing up was very easy, I have had difficulty since then.  Up-loading photos has been a long slow process as has the tagging and labeling of all of them.  I have had more success performing searches on topics and regions.  By entering a key word, photos that relate to that word, pop up.  Using it in this way, I came to understand the usefulness of labeling and tagging in specific and detailed ways.  Being a visual person, I love photography and visual images and I am drawn to the ideas I have read about in terms of photo-sharing.  I hope that with further exploration, and perhaps finding someone who knows and uses the service, I can fully use what it has to offer.

Photo-Sharing As a Tool for my Own Personal Learning

One of the great benefits of living and working internationally is the opportunity to travel and see many amazing places.  As a result, we have a couple thousand pictures on our home computer from our travels.  Needless to say, photo-sharing has the potential to be very helpful to us.  The first benefit would be to use Photobucket or Flickr as a place to back up and even store our photos thus freeing up space on our hard drive.  One of the drawbacks to living internationally is being far away from family and friends.  A great benefit of photo-sharing tools is in sharing photos and experiences with those back home or even new friends we meet in our travels and, much like a blog, they can comment on what they see.  Once downloaded to a photo-sharing site for back-up purposes, photos can be edited (to a limited extent), and organized into albums and then captions can be added.  Picasa Web Albums seems to be particularly good at editing and organizing photo collections.   At present we share photos with our friends and family through our blogs.  If we wanted to maintain these blogs we could easily upload pictures from our photo-sharing site to our blog site.  There is now even the ability to up-load and share video in this way.   One of the features in Flickr that I read about is the ability to tag photos geographically known as geotaggeing.  These photos can be linked with Google Earth and a person’s world travels can be located geographically.  I’m not sure exactly how this works but it would be very instructional for those viewing the pictures. 

Photo-Sharing As a Tool for Teaching and Learning

Some common threads running through all the Web 2.0 tools we have been exploring is the idea of community, collaboration, conversation, and an easy interchange of ideas.  In my research I have found projects where photo-sharing is used in ways that incorporates these important elements. 

Photo-sharing has provided another dimension to the research work students will be doing with me as a teacher-librarian.  Geography, history, current events, social history, and any other topic students might be researching could benefit greatly by incorporating photo-sharing into it.  Students could use a Photo-Sharing site to search for relevant photos which they could incorporate into their research projects and presentations.  Within some photo-sharing programs there is the ability to create slide shows with annotation to go with it.  Although I have not used it, Geotagging, linked with Google Earth, seems to be a powerful way to add to geography or history projects.  Presentations could be created on the photo-sharing site and conversation could take place through the comments left.

One of my goals in the library with elementary students is to take our reading and our book studies and create stories of our own.  Using photo-sharing could be a great way to motivate and inspire students to collaborate and share ideas.  Although I have used photos and drawings to help students tell their stories, photo-sharing could be another place to either assemble pictures they have taken themselves or to find pictures to create their stories.  A site called Teachers of Merit  has a number of examples of projects that would add a new depth to a student’s learning.  My favorite example on this site is a project called Flat Bobby (cousin of Flat Stanley).  They call it “blog plus Flickr” (the photos are linked to Flicker) and it incorporates writing and research about people and places.  This project involves students locating places geographically and thus being introduced to other cultures.   Students could then share their finished project with others who were involved in the project no matter their location.  In a similar way students could create a photo journal of a vacation they took and share it through Flickr.  Students in our school tend to travel to some very culturally and historically rich places on their vacations.  Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan, India, Syria, Oman, Turkey, Lebanon, plus Europe and Africa are all within easy reach from here.  If these photo journals are posted it could spark feedback and conversation with students in other countries who are interested in the area visited.  Geography, mapping, history, and current events are all part of these highly motivating projects. 

Another way to use photo-sharing to create a sense of global community and to foster collaboration is by linking books to the contexts they are written in.  I will be reading Greg Mortenson’s and David Relin’s book Three Cups of Tea (2009)which has been adapted for young readers by Sarah Thomson. As the book takes place in Pakistan and Afghanistan, I did a search on Flickr to look for pictures that may help students get an understanding of the place and culture within which the book is set.  Although I was not yet able to find anything useful about Pakistan I did find some great photos by Janchan on Flickr, set in Afghanistan.  Through this experience, students may even be able to meet students in one of the schools Mortenson was instrumental in building.  At the very least students would be introduced to other cultures.

I saw many other possible uses of photo-sharing including putting Hotspots in a photo, adding photos to MovieMaker, using VoiceThread to add comments to a slide show, or Flickr Toys to a create graphic presentation and many others I have yet to learn about.  As interesting as all these tools are, I feel that it is important to recognize that they are simply tools to engage students, to foster and build community, collaboration, conversation, and an easy sharing of ideas.  Nevertheless, I feel that photo-sharing is a worthwhile tool to allow this creative learning to take place.


Thomson, S. L. (2009). Three cups of tea adapted for young readers.

      New Yourk: Dial Books for Young Readers.

Categories: Uncategorized

Hello world!

September 6, 2009 2 comments

Welcome to my first steps in the blogging world.  I expect there will be many additons and changes in the weeks and months ahead as I explore Web 2.0.  Join in and let’s all blogging!

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