Quotations of the Week

Careful. We don't want to learn from this
Calvin and Hobbes

Seeing ourselves as others see us would probably confirm our worst suspicions about them.
Franklin P. Adams

Nver discourage anyone... who continually makes progress, no matter how slow.

We don't know a millionth of one percent about anything.
thomas A. Edison

Weekends don't count unless you spend them doing something completely pointless.
Calvin and Hobbes

Some days even my luck rocketship underpants won't help
Calvin and Hobbes

Scanning vs. Seeking - how we view content - a visual example

Dictionary.com Word of the Day

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Okay, it took less time than last time to post my cast and I am so proud of myself. I know that I am not a story teller and I am at the beginning of the editing road but I did it!!! If you saw my grin right now. All I know, is I am a bit more keen about this whole thing than I was last week after six hours of trying to post!

I created my video using Window's movie maker and used audacity to create the sound bites which I imported. I felt pretty knowledgeable yesterday when after I had created my sound bites in audacity ,that the instructor had downloaded for us to use, and pointing out that for translating the files into Mp3 files that we needed to download the Lame program... Just think, a week ago I knew none of this.
Now if only I could get some of the lingo down...
Okay, maybe the second time is the charm
Gulp, Gulp, Gulp

latest attempt

I went to a workshop on video editing yesterday and happened to have these characters to a felt story with me so I used them to practice what we were taught. Thought I would try a video podcast... wish me luck. I can't remember how I got the pig story up.
Here is Gulp, Gulp, Gulp

Sunday, February 17, 2008

According to Podcasting 101
"In September 2004, when podcasting was in its infancy and a Google search of
"podcast" brought up only 24 results, Doc Searls of IT Garage said,
will shift much of our time away from an old medium where we
wait for what we
might want to hear to a new medium where we choose what we
want to hear, when we want to hear it, and how we want to give everybody else
the option to listen to it."3 Indeed, more and more we want information when we
want it-whether it's TV or radio programming or other information. We don't want
to wait. Podcasting gives the end user one more option for information access at
the point of need."

This is so true. I look at my own house for example. We haven't watched television the way the cable company has programed it for at least five years. Everything is recorded through the computer and we watch it when we want to over whatever period of time is convenient. When I purchase most of the music I buy, its online after I heard a song I like and I have gone online to hear more. I was complaining the other day about my mp3 player because it wasn't big enough. Apparently 400 song options is no longer enough (although when I got I swore I never would use that much)

I like the idea of podcasts and appreciate that I don't have to miss Stuart Maclean on the weekend for the 100th weekend in a row and I can access it online and listen to it at my leisure. I think it is cool that public librarys provide auditory copies of books online that I can download and use for a period of time. I even see the educational benefits of using podcasts to suport learning. (even though I was hating it as I tried to do such as simple task as posting mine to my blog)

Here are my thoughts on the tips provided by the article:

1. Gather the required hardware and software. Different configurations will
work, but the easiest is a computer with a microphone and speakers and an
application that records sound. The computer's microphone can be built in, but
for better quality, use an external microphone with a USB connection. The
sound-recording application can be a simple digital audio recorder or a
podcasting software application that allows editing and the addition of music
and sound effects. (see the Podcast Recording Software sidebar on page 20.)

This part was relatively easy. I ended up using audacity to record my podcast as was suggested by a couple of sites I visited as well as the making a podcast site that Elizabeth shared. Other than the fact that I had no idea what most of the buttons in the program referred to I was able to recognize the record, stop, pause and rewind butttons.

2. Decide on the content. Its quality will keep people coming back for more installments. If it's part of a series, create a template and choose theme music to increase listener recognition and to maintain consistency. Create engaging text with an appropriate introduction, breaks, and a conclusion. Also, consider additional features. Music or sound effects can signal a page
turn, generate interest, and keep listeners engaged. Use accompanying images, album art,
outlines, or notes if the software allows it. You must also make sure you're copyright-compliant. When incorporating music or images into a public podcast, you must request and receive rights to use those songs and images. Or you can use items that are in the public domain or that have already been licensed for noncommercial distribution. If you're making the podcast for curricular use at the school and not for publication, follow fair use guidelines as outlined in Digital millennium Copyright Act.

Content was hard. Finding something that was worth recording and sharing was difficult. Trying to find something that I felt comfortable with reading was hard. Determining if I was allowed to share the story was harder (still not sure if it was okay that I verbally shared story) and knowing that a goal was trying to create something that people would want to come back for more of was even harder. If I was providing information for one of my courses that students had to access I could see them having to come back if not wanting to.

3. Practice. For instance, practice speaking until you're confident and the
session flows smoothly in a natural, conversational style. Practice adding music
and sound elements until you're comfortable with moves and transitions.
I practiced alright. I practiced enough that I was at the point where everything starts to sound horrible. i had planned on incorporating pings to indicate a time to change the page but I couldn't even keep character voices straight. All I could think of as i made new copy after new copy was an answering machine message I recorded awhile back that sounded completely mechanical because I had reheased it so many times. In the end. I got my son to sit next to me and I read it to him. He doesn't mind that I forget which voice goes with which character. (I bribed him with a valentine sucker to keep him quiet for the recording)

4. Record the podcast. Use software that generates an MP3 audio file. Following
instructions that came with the software, add and mix text, music, and sound
I think I would like to continue playing with the program so that I feel comfortable enough to add other dimensions. I think this would improve interest, create drama and of course a richer experience for the listener. Next week I am attending video editing workshop... maybe I will learn a few things that I can transfer over to this.

5. Test the podcast. Listen to it and share it with peers. If you don't like what you hear, redo all or part of it until it's the best you can do. Students are often motivated to excel if they realize a public posting of their podcasts means that people from all around the world could be listening. (Be sure to follow your school's privacy guidelines for student safety.)

My son liked it and I think he's a pretty good judge. He likes listening to stories while he reads and while I know there are hundreds before me who thought of this I thought I might try and record some of his favourite stories as podcasts. He could listen to them in the car on road trips. I can't read in the car without getting sick and he loves it when people read to him.

6. Publish the podcast to share your good work. Link the audio file to a Web
site with an RSS feed15 so people can subscribe. Or simply link the file for
manual download. (However, it's then considered a linkrf audio file rather than
a true podcast. ) Submit the audio file for public posting on a podcast
directory service such as iTunes Music Store, Podcast.net, OurMedia.org, Podcast
Alley, or PodcastPickle. Test the access to make sure it really works.

Okay, I am not even sure if I got this part right but I ended up using podbean to host my podcast and then added it to my google reader program. I found linking this to my blog horribly hard and it made me rethink wanting to ever do it again. I understand that blogger is not the best site when it comes to linking podcasts though so will hold off on my complete banning until I practice some more.

7. Promote the podcast. Advertise within your school community and encourage
parents, students, and teachers to subscribe. Students can be the best
word-of-mouth promoters, but the quality and timeliness of the podcast(s) will
be what keeps subscribers coming back for more.

I think I will keep my promoting to a very minimal amount. For now, it will be an EDE545 thing.. who knows maybe I will take a course in storytelling next and become a sensation in the podcasting world for telling children's stories (ha)

8. Evaluate and learn from your mistakes. Be prepared to adjust your template or
make changes to procedures for future podcasts. You want the end product to
be the best that you can make it

I have evaluated and I have learnt. I have learnt that I like the voice in my head much better than the voice that is out there for the world. I have learnt that microphones can catch a lot of unintended noise. I have learnt that it is best to record when the 18 month old is no where in the vicinity of the computer. Make sure that the pages of the book you are reading are not sticking together so that it is much simpler to turn pages. I have also learnt that i need to learn how to edit so I don't have to read the story over and over till I don't make any mistakes (I can't do it without at least one slip up). By accident I learnt how to layer voices and that has made me think it can't be too hard to add music next time I try to make one... now if only I can figure out how to post them in a less horrible way.

maybe pigs can fly

okay, one of my posts has disapeared and the podcast that I posted an hour ago miraculously started to work... When I finally gave up and went upstairs to read to my son i was cursing podcasts and whomever thought they were a good thing. I came back downstairs to find my computer refusing to work. After a restart I came back and added my podcast to a different site (account number 200 for this course) and shared it as a feed. Then I went to look at my blog and clicked on the pigs link to check what the error message was so that I could start working on fixing it and no error message... I am not even going to try and figure it out... just hope it keeps working


Just noticed what the word of the day was for my blog and and feeling that its definition is apt for how I feel about podcasts at the moment. I have been able to add my podcast to my RSS feed which I have now shared... am still trying to post it in a cleaner way but at least I am sharing it somehow.

When Pigs Fly

My son picked the story for me to read for this podcast and I can't say enough how aptly the title lended itself as I tried for way to long to get this thing posted. I think I may have to come back and tell you all the great ways (well, at least I thought) for how to use podcasts but for now, I have to walk away from this before I completely lose it... so for now, here is my podcast. hopefully... When Pigs Fly

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Why people like me should sometimes not have control of a computer

In our house my husband keeps care of the network (sad but true -with only two computer users in the house we have 4 computers-even our television runs through the computer and don't even get me started on trying to figure out the remote that goes with this- He went away for a few days a couple of months ago and I never did get the sound to work). He likes tinkering and upgrading video cards, adding memory, changing configurations and whatever else one does that I don't understand, and I, well I like access to working computers that I can take for granted as being things that will work...
The unspoken rule is I don't mess around with settings and he always makes sure that at least one computer is up and running while he does his tinkering. Well, with this program I have started doing a few thing. Mostly saying yes to prompts from the likes of Google asking if something can be installed. My theory being, well, its got to be okay to do this... the course expects us to try these things, what's the worst thing that could happen... Not being knowledgeable about how things have been set up. I have managed to let the Google toolbar take control of some of the settings, and its screening program take precedent over the software my husband has in place. I have managed to create conflicts between programs that I don't understand and Jeremy just asks, 'what have you done/downloaded now?'. Somehow with my exploring I have created a wee bit of mess at our house and the new unspoken rule is ask before I do for the sake of his sanity as he tries to fix things that I have unwittingly done. Having to watch him fix things after I come up to him and say..."______ isn't working" and then me asking "when can I have my computer back" has got me thinking. No wonder the IT guys want to limit what the network users at schools can do. If I can make such a mess in a few weeks think what a whole school could do. Access to programs is important but so is setting up things in a way that allows access but sanity to the system that is trying to support it. Well, I better go and make the trek back home... I am currently at my mom's house using her computer as ours, well, hopefully Jeremy is having fun tinkering with it:)

Social Bookmarking in Plain English

I found this video very helpful in understanding and finding use for social bookmarking.

I get it...sort of

According to Wikepedia, Social bookmarking is a method for Internet users to store, organize, search, and manage bookmarks of web pages on the Internet with the help of metadata. Uses of social bookmarking are highlighted in 7 things you should know about social bookmarking by educause which indicates that social bookmarking is important because "Activities like social bookmarking give users the opportunity to express differing perspectives on information and resources through informal organizational structures. This process allows like-minded individuals to find one another and create new communities of users that continue to influence the ongoing evolution of folksonomies and common tags for resources. "
Online Learning and Teaching in an INformation-Rich Context identifies that "information is the principal ingredient of much learning." It is important that we are able to find, keep track and sort information. Programs like del.icio.us provide a template on which to do this.

I see the benefits of del.icio.us... sort of (can't remember how to spell it ever though- where to place the periods keeps throwing me off... have to bookmark it). I used to be a favourite saver. If I thought a site had any merit I would add it to my favourites so could easily access it Everything was neatly saved in a course/subject appropriate folder renamed so that I could quickly remember what was so great about the site. Now though, I have come to find that I can google a site quickly with a couple of key words and I don't have to save them. Addresses I use all the time have become like phone numbers and I just access them without thinking about it. Other addresses I like to use I know are posted on specific websites and I can just go to them if I can't remember.
I think i have gotten to this point for two main reasons. The first is work. At work, there has been a problem since an upgrade (about two years ago) and since then my favourites have been wiped out and if I save one as soon as I shut down my computer the favourites go with it. I know I could get the IT guy to fix it very easily but I always forget to ask because it didn't seem like a big deal and I got into the habit of saving addresses on my thumbdrive and accessing them from there. The second reason is that my husband is bit of a techy and has a tendency of resetting all the computers in the house on a regular basis. He generally forgets to save my favourites as part of the backing up process so I just stopped using them.

Del.icio.us is the main program that I have trying to use. At home and at work I need to have two internet windows open though to use it. I can't save the shortcut tools on either computer without running into an error. At work I don't have access to changing/adding to the toolbars and and at home... well, after my google toolbar fiasco I am working without the buttons. Looking at other peoples suggestions on the site I have quickly found a few sites I want to look at more and have been sidetracked a few times using these some of these sites features.

I can see using Del.icio.us to create an online catologue of useful sites and I think it is great that it has the ability to be open to others in the subject area as myself. The hardest part about teaching in an area that no one else teaches in a school is that you are constantly working on your own to create meaningful learning opportunities for students. Searchin online for useful information can be time consuming and because the subject is quite specific it can be fruitless. Working together to search the masses of stuff available online helps everyone and I think can actually bring enthusiasm back to teachers who are tired and possibly frustrated with trying to get through it all.
I like the idea of creating shared sites with students and have them share what they have found as well. I wish there was a feature that would allow certain sites to be shared with specific people and not others. For example, I might want students to see sites of interest to subject areas, and friends to see sites that I think are fun on a more social level.

the nice thing about this too is that rather than have to update website links on a shared blog, on a website and whatever else one is using to share. One could have a single link to a person's del.icio.us account and manage links from there. I don't know about anybody else but I am getting bogged down with trying to make sure everything everywhere is current.

Sunday, February 3, 2008


this is the video I meant to share regardign sloths...

Gorilla Librarian

Being a Python fan had to share this 'candidates' desire to be a librarian...

YouTube - Sloth

My son thinks sloths are pretty cool. Searching You Tube found some neat home videos as well as more informative ones.

YouTube - Sloth

You Tube and me

Well, I can say I have wasted a huge amount of time wandering around the You Tube site viewing things I wasn't really looking for but it was there and I ended up looking at it. It was very easy to become side tracked and begin watching stuff that I normally wouldn't spend time watching. Jason in his blog Unsought Input identifies these three uses for You Tube

1. Making it incredibly easy for users to contribute videos

This is true, all one has to do is create a user account (free) and upload till their desire to share is content

2. Making a central location to find video clips, with lots of good ways to find them (browsing, searching)

Again true, most people I know, who are looking for something go to you tube and search and... voila... maybe a few similar things pop up but if the video you are looking for is there you will find. When I was looking for the hippo commercial that I posted (which also was extremely easy to do) all I searched for was house hippopotamus commercial and I was directed to about 10 different copies of it. Downloading videos is also very easy... click of a button and there we go again.

For my marketing course, I find this site helpful for finding commercials that I want my class to watch as good examples of advertising, to look at the different tools that advertisers to use and for students to look at how advertisements change as products move through the product life cycle."

3. Giving the Internet a way to link to videos, and giving television clips a way to exist on the Internet.

While deciphering the wording of his third point took me awhile, I do see what he means. Many people today don't have time to watch reams of television, or to fast forward through what they taped to get to the pieces they want. You Tube and other sites allow for this. Sparknotes may give the gist of a novel but You Tube allows this for television.

You Tube also allows for the everyday person to get what they want to share out there for the public at large. Students at my school have made postings of themselves animation they ahve created, playing in bands, singing, taking part in the sports they are involved in, acting and the list goes on. These are the positive things that they have done. On the negative side, fights have been recorded and posted.

I appreciate the fact that YouTube has a policy regarding what they consider appropriate but all one needs to do is have something out there for a very short period and it can be past on and distributed before somebody clicks the link indicating that the content is not appropriate.

As a teacher looking for things to support my students learning I found Teacher Tube more useful. It was as easy to use and the content that came up seemed more useful in general than what I mostly found on YouTube.

Before going to use any of these sites I think as Friessen points out (in A practical guide to contemporary literacy) it is important to know what one is looking for and if it is appropriate to the assignment otherwise " can mean a lot of wasted tme for students who are looking in the wrong places for information." Having students in my marketing class look for commercials to analyze YouTube has a lot of use. For students who ae looking for information on how the debit/credit system works in accounting... YouTube is not the best fit. Subject, topic and purpose I think are all important things to consider before going to look for video clips. I did find YouTube good for finding

Regardless of what is going on I think it is important to also do as Friesen suggests which is provide "structure and guidance". With the abundance of informaton available online through sites like YouTube I think it is important that exists. Even as I wrote this and looked at the site to see what I could see/find. I got sidetracked more than once...

The one thing I do wonder is how much multiple students ( I think about at our school where there are over 250 computers to be accessed), looking at videos/downloading, etc would effect the speed of the school's network. I already know that during blocks (when yearbook/graphic/video production/32 studio are in use the network gets bogged down.