Sunday, February 22, 2009

Big Screen, Small Screen - A Modern Paradox

In a recent Pickles comic, Sylvia brags about watching a movie on her iPod, which confuses Grandpa because a big screen television is mounted on the wall behind her. Paradoxically, this is the age of the BIG screen and the small screen, and we can use both in our classrooms.

This year we've been focusing on using our projectors and BIG screens to engage students in learning, but we probably aren't using the small screens on our iPods as well as we should. Tony Vincent's Learning in Hand web page provides amazing ideas for using iPods in the classroom. 

Basically, any slide show can be saved or exported as graphics and synched with an iPod (yours or a student's), and these photos can be used as flash cards, project instructions, and review materials. In addition, audio and video podcasts from iTunes (and iTunes University) can be downloaded and placed on our iPods. Obviously, students can hear music on our iPods, but they also could listen to audio books and recorded class instructions or presentations. Videos from any educational source can be loaded on our iPod Classics, Touches, and iPhones, and applications from the iTunes App Store can be added to the iPod Touches and iPhones for students to explore. BHS science classes recently used the Virus science application with their reading of The Hot Zone, and students responded well to this activity as they utilized real-time physics and blood-flow simulation to defeat stages of an infection on the iPod Touches, as in this image:

If you have an iPod of any type, please consider using it with your students. I would love to share ideas and help you synch learning materials to the small screen. Your students will thank you, and they will learn!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Screencast-o-Matic: Making Movies of Your Computer Screen Activities

Ponder a moment the possibility of making a movie recording of your computer screen, including the audio and all your clicks and other movements. Now consider the possibility of adding your own audio narration while creating this movie. And what if you could do this quickly and easily, without any cost whatsoever? I'm sure that I'm hearing virtual shouts of glee as you think about ways you could use the Screencast-o-Matic web tool to enhance student learning in your classroom. Obviously, you could include the movie in a PowerPoint or Keynote presentation, but it also could be embedded into wikis, blogs, and web pages, as well as synched to teacher or student iPods.

Below is a screencast movie that I created in just a few seconds to explain how to create a screencast movie using Screencast-o-Matic. Yes, the irony abounds. 

Double-click on this movie to begin playing it. Don't worry--your video made with Screencast-o-Matic will not be this small. 

I would love to read your comments and suggestions related to this blog post! And as always, I am "on call" for Buhler educators to assist with this and any other tech tool used to "amp it up" in our classrooms for both student engagement and student learning.