Thursday, October 12, 2006

The ITEC Conference is a huge success!! . . . and so was my Interactive Web workshop

Well, the ITEC Conference is over and it was a success.

Over 500 educators attended and they had an opportunity to meet with old friends and make new ones.

The hottest topic of the weekend was podcasting. Podcasting, blogging, and wikis were on everybody's minds. I must admit that part of my perception might have been biased because I did a workshop and a session that involved using these 21st century tools in the classroom.

My workshop, Expanding Classroom Opportunities Using the Interactive Web, was quite successful. Although we had some Internet access problems, I was fortunate to have a room full of techno-veterans who were able to work with the challenges. This workshop was meant to demystify the Interactive Web. Throughout the 2.5 hour span, we explored the wonderful opportunities provided with blogging. We explored a number of examples and each attendee created his/her own blog through Blogger. I must admit that I like the tagging capabilities of Wordpress.com better, but it's a lot faster to make a blog on Blogger.

We followed this by exploring the wiki-world. I had a couple of folks who had never even heard of the word, Wiki. I reminded them of the Wikipedia. We visited Wikipedia and even added a sentence on one of the entries. (Don't worry, it didn't affect the meaning.) I then directed them to the wiki I had created for the conference, ITECconference2006. When you look at this wiki, you will see that I created a page for each of my presentations. This was intended to provide a place where folks could access our resources and add their own. (I was kind of hoping that they would make the changes during the presentation, but that didn't happen.)

Anywho, each of the attendees created an account on wikispaces. There are others, like Peanut Butter Wiki, but this is the easiest one to do in a short period of time.

We finished with podcasts. I had intended to provide each learner with the opportunity to create their own podcasts - even had microphones. Unfortunately, we ran out of time so I asked them if they would like to see me make a podcast from start to finish. After their resounding cry of "YES", I began my venture.

I began with Garageband (check out the tutorials) because it is so simple to add background music and edit. I created a quick 30-second audio recording. We then selected music for an intro and an outro (Like that name? I just learned it last week from the Apple website.) We added those musical clips and placed them appropriately (along with the proper "ducking.") We transferred the podcast to iTunes where it immediately started playing. We needed to convert the file to an mp3 format for the podcast, so we used the convert feature on the Advanced menu. Finally, we had to use the "Show File in Finder" command to find the mp3 format of the file so that we could move it to the desktop.

Confusing? It can be. I hope that Apple makes this process MUCH less complicated in iLife '07 or sooner. This is also why I supplied each of the attendees with instructions on How to Make a Podcast Using Garageband. (I will post these soon.)

The most difficult part about giving a workshop on creating a podcast is deciding where to upload the podcast so that it can actually be heard. Usually, we geeks have access to a server where we make special accommodations for them to upload their work.

I found an alternative!!!!! I found Pod-serve.com
This is a site where you can upload your podcast and, belive it or not, it does all of the RSS magic there too. This means that you just need to upload your podcast and then you can immediately subscribe to it. I must admit that I don't know much about this company, so you should check it out before you use if for your workshops or classes.

Elapsed time for making a podcast? 15 minutes from beginning to end. Would you believe that I just checked on the podcast that we made and it already has 51 subscribers? Must be a slow day in pods-ville.

This workshop was my first one covering these 3 tools of the Interactive Web. I hope to do many more. I have applied to NECC 2007 to make a similar presentation. I truly hope that it is accepted.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Interactive Web Workshop at ITEC 2006

On October 8, I will be presenting a 3-hour workshop at the Iowa Technology and Education (ITEC) Conference in Des Moines, Iowa. I am looking forward to this opportunity. I have shared the Interactive Web with others through presentations to colleagues and small discussions with students, but this is my first opportunity to present a workshop at a conference on this topic.

We will discuss the basis of the Interactive Web (AKA "Web 2.0" but I can't use that term here - it is copyrighted ;-)) We will then explore the educational possibilities of using blogs, wikis, podcatching, podcasting and social networking software in the classroom. By the end of this workshop, if all goes well, each of the attendees will have their own blog, wiki, podcast and del.icio.us accounts.


Here are the resources that we will be using. I am posting this here to share it with you readers, but also so that my students will be able to link to them from this posting instead of having to create a whole different website. (pretty cool, eh?)

Connectivism Website - George Siemens

Classroom Blogs
University Class Assignments
Blog-bib - Annotated bibliography on blogging
Weekly Teacher Blog - 3rd
Student Blog - 5th Grade
Prepare for Field Trip - 4th grade. Sets stage for trip.
Edu.blogs.com - Evan McIntosh. Comments/reflects on using tech in ed.
Dr. Z Reflects - Dr. Z's humble attempt at blogging.
BG Blogging - Creative Writing blogging from Middlebury University

Overall Blogging Examples

Boing Boing - A Directory of Wonderful Things
Bloglines - On-line RSS Feed Reader. Get an account.
Technorati - This is the Google for Blogs.
Captain's Blog - Journal of Captain Mark Bromwich in Afghanistan.

Create Your Own Blog

Blogger - Quick and easy blogging spot.
WordPress - Takes a little longer, but includes tagging and couple of other treats. It's worth the extra time.

Wikis
Wikipedia - The encyclopedia created and edited by "the masses".
Dr. Z's ITEC Conference 2006 Wiki - Check this out for more . . .

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Haven't posted in a while

It is kind of embarassing to be talking about blogs but not have posted on my blog for 3 months. I am giving lectures today in our Ed Media class about Blogging, Wikis, and Podcasting. In fact, I am demonstrating this to a student right now.

Will be giving a workship at the ITEC conference next Sunday. Should be good. I will post the info here.

Z