Digital Storytelling PD

The tech integrators at AISC are giving PD on Digital Storytelling this week.  Here is the little teaser video I made to showcase movie making apps on the iPad.

Here is a presentation that Carlina and I worked on too that has a lot of resources and tips.

Finally, here is some feeback we got from one of the teachers who attended.

Infographic Lesson Ideas

Teaching students the importance of digital citizenship is an important part of my job as an integrator.  Today I came across this great infographic to show them the importance of posting responsibly on social networks.  Students need to be aware that posting innapropriate pictures or posting derogatory comments can be detrimental to their future career.  Next time I have the oportunity to give a lesson on Digital Footprints, I plan to use this infographic.  A cool extention would be to have students create their own infographic around social media use based on data they gather from their peers.

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See full infographic here

Reading the suggested articles I found a bunch of neat tools that students can use to make their own infographics.  Better World Flux, Target Map, and Many Eyes are really cool data visualization tools that can help students make their data pretty and interesting to look at.  I hope some teachers are interested in having students create infographics as an option for projects soon.  I would love to see what kind of infographics they create using these neat tools.

Choose Your Own Adventure Digital Storytelling

One kind of digital storytelling that I would love to try out with students is a “choose your own adventure” style project.  You-tube annotations make this kind of digital storytelling easy and fun.  With Youtube annotations, you can add hotspots and links into your video to make it interactive.  Here is a video about the different types of Youtube annotations.

Though this is a slightly silly movie to show students how to make a choose your own ending adventures, I think most kids would be quite receptive to it’s style.

Here is the amazing Youtube adventure these guys created.

I think this type of storytelling is super creative because you need to think up all different kinds of possibilities. It’s like having the kids write many stories in one.  I love the fact that by clicking one ending or another that it takes you to a different Youtube clip.  I hope to help a class do a project like this is the near future.  It just looks like so much fun.

Note: To see annotations, they must be on.  Please make sure they are on.

How To Add Annotations To Youtube Videos – Tutorial 2012

Click here to find out how to create an interactive lesson with Annotations

Is this the Possible Future of Teacher Proffesional Development?

Last night I was responding to Rob’s comment about how he would like to use Infographics in his class and I got an idea.  I love what COETAIL is doing to my middle school teachers, at least the ones in the program.  They are getting familiar with blogging and reading online articles that give them new ideas on how to use technology in their classrooms.  They are also interacting with other teachers at our school and other schools by commenting on blogs.

Instead of always making teachers attend proffesional development  where they are pulled out to hear someone talk; why don’t we encourage them to start a proffesional blog.  We talk about personalizing and differentiating our instruction, but proffesional development should be personalized too.  This is easily done by having teachers blog, assigning articles for them to read and reflect upon or having them find and share proffesional articles to read.  Maybe admin could even requiring teachers to share what is working in their classrooms or cool projects their students are working on.

In middle school at AISC all students have an e-portfolio on Blogger.  I would love for all teachers to have a blog like this, and it doesn’t have to solely be about technology.  Proffesional articles and interesting clips about a range of subjects such as standards-based grading, EAL strategies, or advisory lessons could be assigned on a weekly basis for teachers to read and reflect upon.  Blogging is such a cool way to encourage teachers to read proffesionally and reflect upon their practice.

Some teachers are probably reading this post and thinking; OMG Laura, not another thing we have to do.  This idea would only work if we gave teachers time to do this.  We couldn’t just add it on to the never-ending list of things a teacher already has to do.  If it could be a viable option to blog, instead of attending afterschool PD meetings, I think some teachers would be down for it.  Would you?  Please comment teachers, I would love to get your feedback on this idea.

labeled for reuse Photocredit
labeled for reuse

Infographics are so Cool!

I think Infographics are the coolest, newest development in online visual literacy.  On my Feedly Feed, I am subscribed to the Information is Beautiful Blog and the infographic they have been posting are incredibly interesting and beautiful, though some of them are a bit morbid.  Check out this one about the timeline of the Far Future, not the most positive outlook, but I guess it won’t matter to much to us in 100 quadrillion years.  What a neat infographic to look at when teaching kids about place value and huge numbers.  Just beware sharing this with elementary students; I remember freaking out in 4th grade when I learned of our planets fate it the distant future.

I love how boring facts and figures are brought to life in these online posters.  They are so neat to look at that readers continue to read it even though they have to scroll.   They are such an ingenious way to trick students into analyzing data or reporting out research they have done.

Our school has a subscription to Pictochart and I have encourage teachers to give this as an option for student projects.  Instead of having student write a 3 page report have them design an infographic full of the facts and information they learned.   I started designing a tech team inforgraphic with Pictochat so teachers would know who to contact in IT if they have a problem.  I found it easy to use, easy enough for upper elementary students to figure out.
Here are also a couple of projects that students have completed with this tool.

Do you have any ideas of how we could creatively use Infographics in the classroom?  Please share your ideas in the comments.

Using Visual Literacy to Prompt Creativity

The idea of Visual Literacy reminds me of when I was teaching second grade and we were doing Writer’s Workshop.  I used to pull out my copy of The Mysteries of Harris Burdick and get my student all excited about stories that could stem from these mysterious illustrations.  If you have never heard of The Mysteries of Harris Burdick by Chris Van Allsburg it’s worth looking into.  A picture is indeed worth a thousand words or more and with the Internet and Photshop around there are endless possibilities for you to empower your visual learners.

Images can reinforce ideas, illustate concepts, and jump start creativity.  In this blog post, I’m going to give a couple of images that should be great for creative writing prompts.  Some of these images don’t even need a caption to get the creative juices flowing..


My nanny the elephant  Image Credit: Life Magazine


Image Credit:


Image Credit :

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Where are they headed??

Photo Credit :

 5 Great Links for Writing Prompt Images

Images are great but videos are as great or better.  Check out these awesome pages that have video writing prompts.  I am sure you can browse YouTube and find a plethora of material.  Just turn off the sound to a video and have your students make up what going on.

Video Writing Prompts

The Middle School Moodle Page

Since adopting Moodle two years ago, our Moodle site has gone through many changes; however, I am still unsatified about the way it looks.  Though I can’t do anything with the layout or the resource icons, I can add graphics in the middle boxes and hopefully make it more user friendly.  One page that I am in charge of is the middle school main page.  It looks like this right now.

Why is Moodle so Ugly?

I enjoyed reading the article Understanding Visual Hiearchy in Web Design, and I am hoping to add elements of varied color, size, style and texture to make this page more interesting.  I used to do graphic design as a side job many years ago but I am not great at it.  Though I am okay at Photoshop, I wish I was better at Indesign and coding.  Maybe one day…

Some of the things I want to change on this page..

  • Make Attractive buttons for course links
  • Design a Button for Week Without Walls Link
  • Redo the BYOT Resources Block
  • Delete the outdated Photo Contest
  • Re-Design Library section

The first thing I usually do when I start designing something is look for examples online.  While I’m scouring the Internet, I would love some suggestions for re-designing this page.  Please post them in the comments.

2 days later…

I designed kid friendly navigation to the course pages; however, I can’t get the spaces to dissapear between the images in the html.  After working on this for way too long and it not looking the way I want it to, I’m almost frustrated enough to give up.  Can anyone give me some HTML pointers to make the spaces go away?

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I want it like this





Not like this